Cyberpunk Review » Hardware

January 16, 2006

Hardware

Year: 1990

Directed by: Richard Stanley

Written by: Steve MacManus, Kevin O’Neill, Richard Stanley & Michael Fallon

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

Key Cast Members:

  • Jill: Stacey Travis
  • Moses Baxter: Dylan McDermott
  • Rating: 9 out of 10

    Overview: Of all the movies I uncovered during my research for this list, Hardware far and above tops the list of movies I previously had no knowledge of. Put simply, Hardware is absolutely AWESOME low budget cinema. This cross between Alien and the Terminator is set in a totally weird cyberpunk dystopia. It’s scary as shit, it’s totally weird, and DAMN it’s good!

    screen capture

     

    Filmed for only one million dollars, Hardware takes place in a truly bizarre dystopic future where a nomadic "parts" scavenger goes into a barren wasteland called the "zone" and finds a strange and seemingly valuable robot head and body parts. Through unfortuitous circumstances, this head finds its way back to a hot looking babe named Jill, an artsy-fartsy type (played wonderfully by Stacey Travis) who accepts it as a gift. She decorates the head with cool colors and stuff and sticks it on her shelf.

    screen capture

     

    Unfortunately for her, it turns out this head and body parts make up the bulk of the government’s new prototype Mark-13 droid - a true killer designed to weed out excess population, that’s impervious to almost everything. Once this thing re-assembles itself, this thing begins its killing spree. On top of this, Hardware has some of the most eclectic collection of characters ever assembled. We have a totally slimy pervert that spends his time peeking in on Jill, especially when she’s in the nude; we have a completely shady parts dealer, we have a zen-like unknown nomad, we have a completely weird boyfriend’s sidekick, and some truly bizarre apartment tenants.

    screen capture

     

    The Visuals: Like most cyberpunk films, there is one color that dominates the screen - in this case its orange. We get orange EVERYWHERE, along with a nice few accents of pale yellow. All the set pieces are totally futuristic and hip. We get fun advertisements on the radio, a totally hip atmosphere, and truly, one of the best soundtracks found in movies. Quite simply, Hardware ROCKS!

    screen capture

     

    Now for the bad news - unless you’re in region 2, you’re screwed. I picked up a used VHS for about 17 bucks on ebay but still found it worth it. Unfortunately, this version is panned and scanned and cut. If I had obtained a "real" version of this movie, no doubt it would be sitting in my top 10.

    screen capture

     

    The Bottom Line: Hardware is a terrific, low-budget cyberpunk flick - one of the best low budget cyberpunk movies ever. If you are looking for a great, futuristic terminator-style chase movie that takes place almost completely in a bizarre apartment building, this is your movie!

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review Hardware

    This post has been filed under Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Horror, Dystopic Future Movies, 9 Star Movies, Good low-budget movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.

    Comments

    January 31, 2006

    SFAM said:

    BTW, there’s this terrific site about Hardware that has a ton of interesting things about it, including its most awesome and interesting sound track. Check it out:

     

    http://www.everythingisundercontrol.org/soundtrack.html

    March 4, 2006

    sysscan said:

    Check out Death Machine by the same director.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Sysscan, welcome to cyberpunkreview!

    Regarding the Death Machine suggestion, Do you mean Dust Devil by Richard Stanley (Same director) or do you mean Death Machine(1995) by Stephen Norrington?

    March 7, 2006

    sysscan said:

    My mistake. It is Death Machine by Stephen Norrington. He was on the special effects crew for Hardware. Death Machine is pretty good though. It is one of my favorite cyberpunk movies. I didn’t see a review for it on this site. You should do one.

    SFAM said:

    Hi sysscan, I have about 60-70 movies still to review (there’s a list of them in the Meatspace), including a number of big name ones (Robocop, Matrix sequels, etc.). I haven’t seen Death Machine but I’ve heard of it. Was not really sure it was cyberpunk or not. I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

    June 18, 2006

    Anonymous said:

    This movie was the one that started me in the cyberpunk genre, so to say, after Hardware I begun reading PKD, Gibson, finding other movies to watch, it’s one of my all time favorites!
    I had a VHS as well, then got a laserdisc, but it’s still pan&scanned. Did it come out on DVD in any country yet? I surely can’t find any info that it did. Too bad!

    Lenny Nero said:

    Whoops, forgot to fill out the name for the above post.
    Anyways, the soundtrack is awesome indeed, plus I used a bunch of lines from the movie recorded off an LD in my own compilations of “cyberpunk” music.
    “It’s stupid, sadistic, and suicidal to have children these days.”
    or
    “It’s gona get worse before it gets better, survival of the fittest.”
    “You’d like that wouldn’t you?”
    and the radio news
    “The two creators of the population control bill were found dead today in what seemed to be a …” Well it’s long but darkly funny!

    SFAM said:

    Hi Lenny Nero - I agree - the soundtrack is a riot (the download link for the sound track is in the comments above). As for widescreen, I have yet to find this anywhere. The movie has been released in DVD in Europe - but this is pan and scan as well.

    July 26, 2006

    Isamu242 said:

    Wow, how anyone be talking about the terd that is Death Machine on the Hardware forum is way beyond me.

    August 8, 2006

    Adam Doub said:

    So many great cameos in this film… namely Iggy Pop (Angry Bob, the radio broadcaster) and Lemmy Kilmiester of Motorhead fame (The tough Taxi Driver). Also the actor who played Alvy was fairly common Streamline anime voice actor. And hey, any soundtrack with early Ministry on it is a winner to me ;)

    SFAM said:

    Iggy Pop as Angry Bob with the “Industrial Dick” is totally awesome. ANd yeah, the soundtrack (available online) is terrific.

    February 15, 2007

    syberberg said:

    Hardware was released in Mainland Europe as M.A.R.K.13 and slightly edited. It has been released on a limited edition DVD, only 666 copies were made.

    I got this on VHS as soon as it was released due to the cameo of (Fields of the Nephilim frontman) Carl MaCoy (The Nomad/Zone Tripper). I was totally blown away and have watched it so many times I end up reciting the entire dialogue. There are many themes explored in the movie, but incase anyone hasn’t seen it yet, I’ll leave you to find them all.

    Unfortunately there was a large scene cut from the movie that reveals more about Mo Baxter, how he lost his arm and the relationship between Mo and Jill. It fits between the sex sceen and them going to sleep. This sceen IS NOT in the uncut version. The uncut version is the same as the UK release.

    For more Hardware discussion, particularly the framing, goto

    http://www.everythingisundercontrol.org/bb/index.php

    And for those yet to witness:

    http://1000futuristicfilms.net/hardware_info.htm

    Enjoy.

    February 16, 2007

    SFAM said:

    Hi Syberberg, thanks for the great info! You might notice that I’ve linked the everythingisundercontrol.org site up above, regarding the most awesome soundtrack. And I certainly didn’t know that there was a “more” uncut uncut version. Too bad this movie isn’t brought back to DVD. Truly I just don’t understand why. I would guess that many low-end distributors would be fighting over the rights to do this. Any ideas about this?

    February 18, 2007

    jhanus said:

    Hi!
    Now is 23:52, February 18, 2007, and after 15 years I finally found M.A.R.K.13, thanks to cyberpunkreview.com, I watched this movie when I was 6y old, and only thing I did remember was robot “redish eyes” and somewhat dark scene.
    But when I saw the painted skull, I knew that this is it!!!

    Thank you, and all the best to cyberpunkreview.com!!!

    July 21, 2007

    Mihaly said:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Hardware-DVD-Richard-Stanley-Horror-Dylan-McDermott_W0QQitemZ320138694077QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item320138694077

    The DVD is on Ebay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its like 25 bucks with shipping. It is PAL 2 but that is easily dealt with, with a little program called DVDshrink!

    July 24, 2007

    SFAM said:

    Hi Mihaly, it’s been out in Region 2 for a while. Let me know how you like it.

    July 30, 2007

    Enys said:

    Filmed for ONLY one million dollars? Thats a huge budget ahah !!!

    Burnt_Lombard said:

    $$$$ doesn’t mean anything. Especially if there’s good writing. But a bad movie will turn out crappy with 1 million dollars or 100 million dollars. Michael Bay proves this over, and over, over…

    August 10, 2007

    SZALENIEC Z HO said:

    Yes, yes - It’s very good film.

    August 30, 2007

    Maverick said:

    That reminds me, I haven’t seen this in ages and ages. Good movie. Dust devil was also a good one. If I remember rightly they both had an unusual atmosphere to them.

    September 2, 2007

    T. F. H. » Burn:Cycle OST said (pingback):

    […] listening to the music of Simon Boswell, who not only does the soundtrack for Burn:Cycle but also Hardware and Hackers. […]

    SciFi man said:

    I recently saw this movie and really liked the first 25 minutes. A very nice start with plenty of atmosphere, cool looks and dystopian feel to it. The rest of the movie was disappointing. Largely confined to the apartment and battling the hard-to-kill Terminator like cyborg.

    November 14, 2007

    noskich said:

    Not bad, but nothing special, I would give it a 5 out of 10. story is very simple, and the “hip” environment has been presented to the viewer only superficially without going into details. This leads to a feeling of like you re just watching a movie rather than getting an idea of an another fictional reality.

    January 4, 2008

    frankie smales said:

    m.a.r.k 13- hardware 1990

    is the most brilliant scfi shocker i have ever seen since bladerunner and alien
    and it is excellently visualized with great sets and stae of the art special effects
    and great performances from dylan mcdermott and the slitheringley sexy stacy travis
    as the kimono laddened heroin and a bright red feeling to the movie and looks good
    in electronic 3d and an kick ass soundtrack to boot and i give it a 20/10

    frankie smales

    (frankie smales movie & tv review uk)

    January 15, 2008

    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles Pilot Episodes said (pingback):

    […] long, lost, forgotten low-budget cyberpunk flick from Richard Stanley has been ripped off here. In Hardware, set in a dystopic future, a guy finds a cool looking robot head which he brings back home to give […]

    February 7, 2008

    higgins said:

    Hi!

    Talking about low-budget aswomes… You don’t have a «Fortress» (1993) review here.

    «Fortress 2» (1999) is crap, but if you liked «Hardware», you should REALLY check out «Fortress».

    Another low-budget dystopian is «Daybreak» (1993) but I’ve seen it only one a long time ago, so I don’t recall very much of it.

    August 7, 2008

    wisnu said:

    hooooooooooooooooooo

    August 17, 2008

    synthetic_creature said:

    i used to have this on vhs!!! fucked if ill ever find it anywhere again lol. great film. love the presentation

    August 27, 2008

    gus said:

    un peliculn de ciencia ficcin fuera de lo normal, con multitud de paranoias raras (no las voy a comentar por si alguien no ha visto la pelicula), yo hubiese quitado unas pocas y la pelicula hubiese quedado mas seria.

    te deja en la boca un sabor agridulce alucinante al final de la pelicula con ese temazo musical titulado “the order of death” (public image) que he escuchado miles de veces, nunca me canso de oirlo.

    salu2 desde Espaa-Spain.

    Executer SSD said:

    “No Flesh Shall Be Spared”, Mark:13

    Cyber Greetings from Portugal!

    Definitely, Richard Stanley’s Hardware (1990) aka M.A.R.K.13 is one of the best “low-budget” post-apocalyptic dystopian cyberpunk film from the early 90’s. I’ve always remembered it to be quite a dark movie, almost like Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) or James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984), although not as great production wise. It really serves as an example of modest cinematography coupled with great atmospherics. One should have in mind that not every investor or producer wants to risk money on a potential “weak” product, more so in such lesser genres as thematic science fiction or horror. Those were the hard times…
    This film is on the top of my “Most Wanted” and I still hope it will be released in a decent DVD (if not Blu-Ray) edition, uncut and in its 1.85:1 original aspect ratio (some would say 4:3 fullscreen; others matted 1.85:1).
    I still have my old VHS copy taken from a late night TV broadcast, right after it premiered at the Fantasporto Film Festival in 1991. Oh, the secret glory!

    “Cyberpunk” aside, also recommended is the 5 disc limited edition of Richard Stanley’s second feature as director, Dust Devil (1992), if not for the film itself (comes in Final Cut and Work Print versions) then for its content alone (3 feature length documentaries, Simon Boswell’s Original Soundtrack on CD, et al.)

    Richard Stanley has upped his page; check it out for some cool stuff at:

    http://www.myspace.com/richardstanley13

    There’s also this little BBC documentary on independent filmmaking, featuring some behind-the-scenes footage of Hardware and of Richard Stanley’s impressions on his first directing role. Enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O61gm2ZuFWQ

    The Future is Red and Hot!

    September 25, 2008

    H1T3K L0L1F3 said:

    This movie has the best soundtrack for a Cyberpunk film after Bladerunner in my opinion, I have had to copy my original as it was getting too much play. When I saw this first I was blown away, I had read the 2000AD short story and found this to be a good take on it. To this day I love to quote this film, I love the building security guys, “…dying in space is real easy, one f**k-up and your gas, spread out over a thousand miles of stratosphere” or Lincoln Wineberg Jr’s “wobbly” poem. I love how a cheap Indi movie can portray the feel of a cyberpunk dystopia when big budget movies along those lines just fail. This is one movie I’d recommend to anyone out to find some cyberpunk material or who wants a great post-apocalyptic soundtrack to download to their brain…

    February 26, 2009

    damageinc86 said:

    anyone know where to get an original laserdisc of this?

    zenseeker said:

    Just got around to seeing this movie on Zone Horror last night, it really is a fantastic little movie :) Quite a downbeat ending, but all the better for it. I could have lived without the cameo from Motorhead’s Lemmy though.

    March 2, 2009

    frankie smales said:

    hi damageinc86

    yes i can help you that the movie is hard to get on laserdisc
    now that everyone has upgraded to dvd since the late 90’s now
    and only way you can get this on laserdisc try online auction sites like ebay or visit your local collectable movie memorabillia
    store to see if they have the original laserdisc if all failing that
    just get an dvd player and do the same of try to get it on dvd by looking in ebay because sadly theres is no real money in laserdiscs anymore because of the dvd and the hybrid dvd
    boom are hitting stores worldwide and just treat laserdiscs as wall hanging display items ok.

    yours faithfully

    frankie smales

    (retro movie fan & guru)

    May 17, 2009

    Feyhra said:

    On June 22nd Richard Stanley’s Hardware will finally be getting an official DVD release, so there ought to be a much more viewable copy available then.

    I also did a little digging around and company releasing it recently applied to the BBFC for ratings for a couple of Stanley’s old Super8 movies, including the ‘prequel’ to Hardware, ‘Incidents In An Expanding Universe’, which runs at about 45 minutes and introduces all the characters we later see in Hardware.

    http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/c79726275a6e052c802575a6005acee2?OpenDocument&ExpandSection=4

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hardware-DVD-Stacey-Travis/dp/B001TJKW4A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1242565022&sr=8-1

    June 13, 2009

    Sonne said:

    Yeah the bad news past and gone about the quallity of the print sure is right it robs it of 1 measly star but now has be reissued due 22 June 2009 so we can brake out the ecstatic jawbreaking grin of pleasure watching it as a 10 out of 10! As it is!
    And lean back in euphoric xstacy while M.A.R.K. 13 conducts the classics with skyskraper sized speaker in wide-angle and fingers crossed the volume will still be cranked up as she turns on Ministry late at night making me jump in my seat but not adjust my volume ;-)
    “Ohh we all sing our wibbely wobbely… ” Hehehhehe ;-)
    Cult Supreme!

    November 17, 2009

    Silk Cut said:

    Recently picked up a copy of Hardware. Its a special edition DVD

    March 3, 2010

    hardwarewiz said:

    awesome hardware movies! 10/10!

    April 22, 2010

    l1zrdking said:

    Blu Ray is out, still kind of high though, Ive been tryin to peep one on ebay.

    November 6, 2010

    cyberfra said:

    hi, i’m watching your very interesting cyberpunk movie reviews, must say that i think some films of your list don’t belong to cyberpunk genere but only sci-fi, nevermind, agrre with you 100% about this awsome film, pure gold cyberpunk.

    Btw, compliment for your very nice site.

    “.. sky was the color of television tuned to a dead channel :)”

    July 31, 2011

    Vampyre Mike said:

    Started off good, got odd and stupid towards the middle. Was not a fan, and usually I’m pretty easily pleased with movies. Especially CP ones… hrmm

    December 25, 2011

    SeniorCitizen said:

    i watched hardware twice and… i just don’t get this one. it starts off beautifully in the wasteland featuring a zone-wanderer collecting junk, rolls on with angry bob’s cynical and dark-humored radio broadcast, “the skyline was beautiful on fire, all twisted metal stretching upwards, everything washed in a thin orange haze”, etc etc… and then the whole thing gets stuck somehow, the story begins “lagging” at a certain point (namely the frame where Jill gets her gift) and no significant development occurs ever since (besides the resurrection and the killing). it’s all idlings to the end from that point. i don’t say the overall film necessarily would be bad, it’s just as if the director would’ve lost the script halfway the shooting and additionally forgotten what he originally wanted with it, so he rush-made up the rest on a sunday afternoon to finish the job before deadline. it owns a unique cp-feel for sure and has some decent attributes regarding both scenes and characters to build in this radioactive dystopia, but as a movie, it fails. it’s just embarassing for me to watch after a while. as for the soundtrack… the lyrics are considerately.. well… the tune is pretty catchy though. 5/10

    SeniorCitizen said:

    and the dramaturgy play is just ludicrous

    April 11, 2012

    bordeaux said:

    Dans l’ensemble, le film fonctionne. Il contient accrocheurs, magnifiquement multicolores visuels (presque tous les scène est baignée dans une couleur différente déposant), et réussit à créer un paysage entièrement réalisé futuriste sur un budget extrêmement limité. Le Mark 13, créé par l’imagination l’image, semble raisonnablement menaçante, même si elle est un peu trop penser à des robots sans peau terminator de The Terminator et ses suites.

    April 22, 2012

    zara7 said:


    October 5, 2012

    Punk:Cyber said:

    I found this movie on youtube (full and 1 pice)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZSVrosLJNw

    I hope its the full vertion you look ;)

    May 3, 2013

    Howk said:

    I love this movie! There are so many great things in this it’s hard to
    name just one! Btw the way the name of the android ” Mark 13″
    is in reference to a bible passage. That passage states ” No Flesh shall be spared. ” The movie is based on a one shot story in a british
    comic strip, 2000 A.D. I believe.

    Love your site Howk

    May 27, 2013

    horatio_ said:

    I actually watched a version of Hardware today on Netflix stream. Not sure if its any different than the one you saw. I liked the environment a lot, especially the beginning, but like others who commented i felt like it fell flat at the end (or at least it became a horror/thriller/monster movie).

    Anyhow the cyberpunk elements were great, thanks for the recommendation, love your site.

    July 7, 2013

    Guest said:

    Wow, the site is back. Great news.

    December 4, 2013

    Peter said:

    Hi, first time poster, long time reader.
    Usually I don’t feel the need to comment about films, weather I like them or not, but I felt the urge here.
    I saw this on TV as a kid and it scared the shit out of me, so much so that I couldn’t watch.
    Now I saw it on youtube and gave it a go again. And frankly I don’t see what the fuss is about - 9 out of 10?
    I realize its a small budget film, but come on. The acting was mostly annoyingly bad, especially Shades after getting high, the pacing went to shit mid-movie, editing was awkward in the action scenes. The robot did some pretty weird things and I could not take it seriously after it crushed that can in the chick’s face. Also, the freaky neighbor was cool, but when he met the girl, it all went to hell. No way she didn’t figure out he was the creep who had been stalking her. He practically told her so.
    The soundtrack was very good, granted. And so was the camera work (with a few exceptions). Also, the atmosphere and visuals - all great. Special note to the special effects. BUT. The acting and editing drags it to mud. I mean, I don’t mind stereotyped and 2-dimensional characters - that’s all well and good in flicks like this, but the forced melodrama is really bad when it’s acted bad.
    All in all - 5/10 from me.

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