Thursday, September 12, 2013


Adapted from a backup story from British sci-fi comic 2000 A.D., the 1990 sci-fi/horror cult classic Hardware has the distinction of being the first product of the Judge Dredd Universe (or “Dreddiverse,” as it’s called by absolutely no one) to make it to the big screen. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where people make a living by scavenging the ruins of decimated cities, Hardware centers around Moses “Mo” Baxter, whose gift of a salvaged robot head to his artist girlfriend, Jill, carries unforeseen consequences.
  • Iggy Pop as gleefully nihilistic radio DJ, “Angry Bob.” = +15pts 
  • Burglekutt plays a skeezy pawnbroker. = +7pts 
  • Comical sidekick named “Shades” who—you guessed it—wears sunglasses all the time. = -8pts (Had the movie been released one year earlier, this would have been a plus.) 
  • Zone Tripper is a proud graduate of the Bela Lugosi school of acting. = -3pts 
  • Lemmy Kilmister survived the apocalypse and is working as a water taxi driver. = +5pts 
  • …Who shamelessly promotes his own band to his fares. = -3pts (Show a little class, Lemmy.) 
  • 50% of the black characters in this movie are retarded (so, you know, one character). = -26pts 
  • For subtly implying that Shades and Jill were having an affair while Mo was out on his last salvage trip. = +10pts 
  • For never bothering to revisit this plot thread again. = -20pts 
  • The shower scene between Mo and Jill is straight out of a Def Leppard video. = -22pts 
  • Props for using a Public Image Ltd. song, though. = +5pts 
  • Pervo-neighbor voyeur looks kind of like Rush Limbaugh with a pony tail. = +19pts 
  • Even when meditating alone in his apartment in the dead of night, Shades refuses to take off his sunglasses. = +8pts (His persistence has won us over.) 
  • After the apocalypse, all Gwar music videos will be soundtracked by Ministry. = -17pts 
  • Pawnbroker Burglekutt murdered by poison from the re-animated M.A.R.K.-13 hand. = +2pts 
  • How heavy of a sleeper is Jill that she isn’t woken up by the clamorous sounds of industrial welding and soldering taking place five feet from her bedroom? = -12pts 
  • The M.A.R.K.-13 has fashioned itself a robot drill-dick. Eat your heart out, Tetsuo. = +30pts 
  • Halber Mensch footage on Jill’s TV a thousand times more terrifying than anything in this movie. = -9pts 
  • Instead of chasing after Jill, the M.A.R.K.-13 occupies itself by obliterating her bed. Kind of lame…UNLESS THE BED WAS ITS TARGET THE WHOLE TIME! = -6pts (It wasn't.)
  • Despite being alone in Jill’s apartment with two trapped, helpless humans, the M.A.R.K.-13 decides to sneak outside and hang around on just the other side of the window, waiting for someone to open the blinds because…it’s programed to kill with maximum dramatic effect? = -18pts 
  • Pervo-Limbaugh’s death is perhaps the most magnificent display of overkill ever caught on film. = +50pts 
  • Jill crawls into her refrigerator to hide herself from M.A.R.K.-13’s infrared vision…which we could accept if she wasn’t still COMPLETELY VISIBLE when we switch to the robot’s P.O.V. = -11pts 
  • Mo demonstrates his badassery by running to Jill’s rescue and spraying shotgun shells ineffectually through open window. = -9pts 
  • Mo gets injected by the M.A.R.K.-13’s venom, and suddenly the movie thinks it’s 2001. = -14pts 
  • Not sure if M.A.R.K-13 is getting ready to rip a mofo to pieces or drop a sick beat, but it is definitely being played by a dude in a suit for this scene. = -28pts 
  • We’d also like to state generally for the record that we have no idea what the M.A.R.K.-13 is supposed to look like. The specs make it out to be some kind of arachnoid construction, but we’re pretty sure it’s a whole different robot every time it’s shown in anything other than a tight close-up. While we’re on the subject, “movement” is not this thing’s friend, either. = -50pts 
  • This being a ‘90s horror movie, it’s only natural that both black characters are killed off within seconds of each other after a combined total of 5 minutes of screen-time. = -43pts 
  • Although one of them was sheered in half pretty spectacularly by a set of blast doors, so that’s worth a few points, at least. = +10pts 
  • So this ultimate killing machine is capable of reconstructing itself from rubble and environmental debris and can self-repair catastrophic structural damage, but it shorts out if you get it wet? Sure. Why not? = -26pts
Total = -142pts
Available on: Netflix streaming, YouTube, the hard drive of a forgotten killing machine lying dormant in irradiated deserts

It sort of seems like the filmmakers put so much money and effort into lovingly crafting the post-apocalyptic hellscape in the beginning of the movie that they didn’t have much left to work with when it came time to build their robot killing machine. Fortunately, some gloriously over-the-top splatter and a pretty bitchin’ soundtrack help to keep things interesting. We can’t help but mourn the better movie that this could have been, but the gruesome shlockfest that it turned out to be is still pretty damn entertaining.

Score Technician: Joe Hemmerling

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