CPD Classics: Hardware (1990) Review

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Hardware (1990)

Directed by Richard Stanley

Dylan McDermott
Stacey Travis
John Lynch
Iggy Pop
Carl McCoy
William Hootkins
Mark Northover
Paul McKenzie

Running time: 94 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Hardware is a British-American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film. Inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, the film depicts the rampage of a self-repairing robot in a post-apocalyptic slum.

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Why It’s A CPD Classic:

This movie is all kinds of awesome. Why isn’t it more well known? First of all, it’s a “post-apocalyptic science fiction horror”. How cool is that? I love sci-fi, I’m not huge on horror but love it when it’s GOOD (like this is) and, for whatever reason, I’ve always been a sucker for that whole post-apocalyptic thing (you can see my list of My Top Ten Apocalyptic Movies HERE).

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I will say this is quite low budget and feels more like a very early 80s film than a 1990 one. That’s a good thing anyway as the 90s sucked & had a terrible look to everything (watch a re-run of Friends – it’s not aging well!). Really, Hardware is a low budget Terminator but, again, that’s another movie that was all kinds of awesome so that’s fine by me.

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As it says above, this is inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, which I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about. According to Wikipedia, that’s a British science-fiction comic most noted for its Judge Dredd stories. I did know this was based on some sort of comic book and it very much has the look & feel of that. Certain images in the film seem to be right out of a comic book (I mean that in a good way). When I try to figure out just what it is that I love about Hardware, I think it’s a combination of the overall look & style, the quirky (though extremely underdeveloped) characters, and the fact that it has one of the coolest soundtracks ever. Oh, and Iggy Pop & Lemmy from Motörhead are in it.

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One other great thing is that Hardware has a strong female character. Dylan McDermott feels like the lead but, by the end, it’s just as much Stacey Travis. I’m surprised she didn’t have a bigger career (although she’s still around & has had lots of roles, mainly in TV). I mean, she’s a blow torch wielding metal sculptor in this. She’s cute & she’s cool. Come to think of it, she should have been on my recent list of Girl Crushes.

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I haven’t said much about the plot but, basically, Dylan McDermott is her sexy post-apocalyptic soldier boyfriend who brings her home these robot pieces he bought off a nomad to give her as a Christmas present as he knows she loves that kind of thing for her metal sculpting art (not knowing it’s a killing machine that’s part of a secret government project). I actually found their relationship very sweet and they have a super sexy shower scene that is very high on my list of My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies. (Yes, I’m mentioning that list yet again as it’s my most viewed thing on this blog BY FAR. That post gets views every single day!). And the f*^king amazing The Order Of Death by Public Image Ltd (I love John Lydon) plays over the scene & fits in SO perfectly, making it one of my all-time favorite uses of a song in a movie. Screw it – I posted the YouTube clip of it before in my shower scene list and I’ll post it again at the end of this review. This song really defines this film for me and gives you a good feel for the vibe of the whole movie – I can’t hear it without immediately picturing the film.

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This review is getting a bit long so I’m not doing well on keeping these CPD Classic reviews short. This movie is cool. It looks cool. The story is cool. The characters are cool. The music is cool. There’s biblical shit going on with the name of the robot (M.A.R.K.-13) & McDermott’s character (Moses). And, holy hell – I’ve not even mentioned the pervy peeping tom neighbor who is one of the creepiest characters in a movie EVER (they all walk the wibbly wobbly walk… *shudder*). Why has no one I know seen this? Why does it have such a low IMDB rating? Why isn’t this a bigger cult classic? Well, I may be alone (along with Mista Mutant) but I think this is a great film, especially for its genre. That’s why Hardware is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 8/10

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53 thoughts on “CPD Classics: Hardware (1990) Review

    • Lol. NO ONE seems to have heard of it! It IS pretty awesome. To me. But others will hate it. It’s the iffiest one for me to ever do as a CPD Classic. I personally love it, though. : )

  1. I’ve never heard of this either but it looks incredible. I’m starting the Netflix hunt now. Also, thanks for defining one of my favorite genres. I could never figure out a name for the “post-apocalyptic science fiction horror” genre but now I can finally give those movies a name. “Post-apocalyptic science fiction” in general is always worth a watch. Even when they are bad, they are normally good enough to watch once.

    • Ohhh – I’d love to know what you think of this if you see it. Let me know! It’s a risky one to recommend. It’s low budget & some will HATE it. But I love it. And if you like these genres, it may be your sort of thing. : )

      • Well – we were supposed to go out of town for something for the weekend (thus – what’s going on on my blog) but the weather got so bad we couldn’t go off and leave the dogs outside for three days so we cancelled. I AM on vacation from fucking work though!!!!

        I asked because – while I have never done any drugs – someone might have not taken a tab of acid and saw this in the movie theater and absolutely loved it.

        And you know someone would never argue with someone’s BFF but someone might have watched this 23 years later for someone’s blog and thought – boy, this isn’t quite as good as I remember but someone also knows that people have differences of opinion and can still be BFFs.

        Also, someone doesn’t walk the wibbly, wobbly walk or talk the wibbly, wobbly talk. Someone also didn’t spend two days writing up a LONG dissertation about HARDWARE talking about not doing acid during the 90s and this and that and then thought – fuck my mom might read this, who needs the trouble and trashed it.

      • Lol! Well, I’m a good girl & barely even drink and the last time I watched this, completely sober, was maybe five years ago or so. And, yes, I do love it. It’s not “good”, but I love it anyway. ; ) And This Is Spinal Tap. And Disney Princess movies. Sorry your plans had to be cancelled. : ( And, shit – another mom who reads a blog like Cara’s mom?! I better start behaving around here! (Um… don’t let anyone’s mom see that Slaughter Daughter post! EVER!)

      • LOL – she can read at her own risk – I am not sure if she does or not but her BFF does. Either way, I didn’t want to listen to it. LOL

    • It is! I don’t know – I didn’t realize it was so obscure but it sounds like no one has heard of it! It’s definitely not one for everyone – I’d LOVE to know your thoughts if you saw it…

  2. I actually have heard about it, but never seen it. Guess I will need to make amends for that one 🙂

    Great review that makes me interested, but am sure I won’t like it nearly as much as you did.

    Will let you know

      • I think I found my next shitfest submission 🙂

        Just kidding, it’s not that bad, but I didn’t like this one at all (even the shower scene couldn’t help that one)

        You were right about me not liking it.

        Sorry to disappoint.

        BTW, I sent you an email, just want to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.


    • I didn’t realize JUST how obscure this was until I posted this review! Only two so far have seen it. It’s not one everyone would love like I do. It’s very low budget. But there’s just something about it…

  3. I do remember seeing posters of this, but just disregarded it as just another killer robot movie. However your review sold me on checking this one out very shortly.

  4. LOVE this flick. So much fun. I saw it in the theaters when I was a kid. Great review! I hope the film is still on my Netflix queue. Glad to see it getting some love in your CPD post. 🙂 Thanks!

  5. OK, so I watched this last night, and what in the name of arse?! I can see why you like it although I’m not sure I did. It took a while to get going, the shower scene was hilarious and the fat next door neighbour was just weeeeeeird.

    It was fun to see a young Dylan McDermott especially as Hostages is on TV at the moment (don’t judge me, it’s a guilty pleasure).

    • Hahaha!!! Lol. I mean, sorry you didn’t like it. ; ) : ( It’s funny because this seems to be a rather controversial CPD Classic choice. You’re the second one to watch it after my review & it sounds like you actually liked it more than the other person did. ; ) I know it’s one that’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea but there’s something about it that I just love. The whole look & feel & mood & certain shots & it WAS made on a very low budget so I think they did well with it. And the creepy neighbor is creepy as hell but certainly memorable. Have you reviewed it? Hey – I have a few free minutes – time to go catch up on your blog! : )

      • I’m not sure I COULD review it…what would I say?! It definitely picked up, and I was so baffled I had to keep watching. I can see why you like it, although it didn’t really float my boat.

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  17. Finally a cool review of this movie! I loved it. It seems largely forgotten now but there were so many things do adore about it.

    Maybe it sounds as a blasphemy, but I loved this way more than Terminator (1984).

    • YES!!!! I bang on about this film so much and everyone hates me for it. ; ) lol. I don’t understand the hate – it’s a brilliant film. For its budget, it’s especially impressive. Although… I gotta say I love The Terminator (it’s a favorite of mine but it helps that I’ll forever have a huge crush on Kyle Reese). ; ) But I think people can love both & it annoys me that this gets compared to the larger budget The Terminator so much. Hardware is still a fantastic movie that stands on its own. SO happy to find another fan. : )

      • Me too! 🙂 I found it on some movie list ”forgotten gems of the 80s/90s”, probably through Dan of the Geek 😉

        I loved it too, although I can understand why not everybody understands it. I think most viewers expect straightforward horror/action like in The Terminator but Hardware is way more artistic and developed. For me, it was almost like if you compare…say… Blade Runner to Terminator – BUT – the point is that Hardware is not Blade Runner. It’s incredibly cool, but it doesn’t dig into similar life-meaning stuff – and it shouldn’t! Imagine if The Terminator was shot like a Blade Runner, while still having same plot and characters. So I guess that’s why many people don’t dig it.

        These are vagues comparisons, of course, but I think you got my idea.

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