- Ax 2013
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Trijbits, Bob Weinstein (executive), Harvey Weinstein (executive), Nik Powell (executive), Stephen Woolley (executive), Trix Worrell (executive) for Wicked Films, BSB, British Screen Productions, Palace Pictures
directed by Richard Stanley
starring Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, John Lynch, William Hootkins, Iggy Pop (voice), Carl McCoy, Mark Northover, Paul McKenzie, Lemmy, Mac McDonald, Chris McHallem, Barbara Yu Ling, Oscar James, Arnold Lee, Susie Savage, Fred Leeown, Mimi Cheung, Sebastian Chee
screenplay by Richard Stanley, bsed on the story SHOK! by Kevin O'Neill, Steve MacManus, music by Simon Boswell, special effects by Barney Jeffrey/Image Animation
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Post doomsday: Large parts of the world have become a barren wasteland,
while those who have survived whatever has destroyed the world and can
afford it live in ultra-high security apppartments - like Jill (Stacey
Travis), an artist who builds sculptures out of robot spareparts and who
hardly ever leaves her appartment. Her boyfriend Moe (Dylan McDermott)
however often spends months on end in the wasteland, going through the
rubble of an once great civilisation looking for robot spareparts he
either sells to local fence Alvy (Mark Northover) or brings home to his
girl - like the head of the MARK 13, which now is the centerpiece of
Jill's latest work of art.
Thing is that Moe soon learns that the MARK
13 is a terribly dangerous robot, and its head might not be dead at
all, and it has the capability of repairing itself - and considering that
Jill's appartment is full of robot spareparts, it shouldn't take MARK 13
long to be whole again ... thing is, Moe is not at home when he learns
this, and while he still only begins to fully comprehend, MARK 13 is
already back to full force and starts attacking Jill - and Jill has to
learn her high security appartment has become a death trap now that the
doors are jammed because MARK 13 drains too much energy from the system.
The only guy who could help is Lincoln (William Hootkins), a security
expert, who even somehow makes it inside Jill's appartment - but then he's
actually more interested in her, his wet dream for a long time now, than
actually helping her ... and soon enough, he falls prey to the robot.
Jill manages to make it out of the appartment, while Moe manages to make
it into it, but macho Moe proves to be no match for the robot - but finds
its achilles heel, whichhe manages to mutter onto the appartments
surveillance system just before dying. And armed with that knowledge, Jill
returns to the appartment, lures the robot into the shower ... and kills
MARK 13 using mere water.
But don't worry, the gouvernment has already
greenlighted a plan to mass produce the MARK 13-model for the citizens'
Based on the mere synopsis, Hardware might
sound like an a-dime-a-dozen sci-fi/horror film, exactly of the kind that
populates the shelves of your local video rental - but actually, the film
is almost amazing: Made on a tight budget, Hardware demonstrates
how a skillful, tight direction, expert pacing and carefully planned
suspense sequences can make high production values obsolete, and that
shock sequences don't necessarily need tons of gore to work. The film
might not be perfect and especially some of the political allegories seem
to be a bit heavy handed, but at least director Richard Stanley is clever
enough to not let them take over the film's narrative and rather keep them
as a backdrop, so as a genre movie the film works perfectly without
insulting the viewer's intelligence.