March 22, 2011

Netflix'ns: Hardware

Netflix'ns is a series of review shorts of films, new and old, seen on Netflix, be it DVD or streaming. For better or worse, I sat through these films and have lived to tell the tale. These are not so much reviews as just comments on the film watched. Some will be first time views, others will be revisits. This is a work in progress.

Hardware was the debut feature for director Richard Stanley. It is a low budget science fiction film with large ambition. In a way the movie emulates films like Aliens and Terminator, but it stands up as its own film with a distinct look and feel. It is bathed in reds and blues and the set design is cramped and does a great job of conveying a post-apocalyptic society where everything is falling apart.

The film opens with a a nomad (Carl McCoy of the band Fields of the Nephilim, also be on the lookout for Iggy Pop and Lemmy from Motorhead) walking through a desert where he finds some discarded robot parts, he picks them up and looks to sell them as scraps. Dylan McDermott (who I always mix up with Rupert Everett and Dermot Mulroney, don't know why) is Moses Baxter, just back from a military stint. He buys the robotic head and hand as a gift for his girlfriend (Stacy Travis) to use in her sculptures.

It turns out the parts come from a Mark 13 cyborg designed to kill people. It also is not exactly deactivated, just dormant. It wakes up and puts itself back together with whatever parts it can find and returns to its primary objective, killing. It is up to our small group of heroes to stop it.

Now, why would a robot be designed just for this? Well, it was meant to be controlled but the model was shut down as it was unreliable. More information is learned as Moses does a little digging en route to an explosive final showdown.

Hardware is a good movie. I suspect multiple viewings will allow the subtext to bubble up, but in the meantime, I just like the look of it all. Richard Stanley is definitely a man with vision (you should see his follow up, Dust Devil). He knows his way around the frame.

Hardware is an interesting, often forgotten, science fiction movie from 1990 that desrves to be seen. It has decent performances, a good script, and an intelligence that is often left behind.

 Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment