I must admit I am a huge fan of this under-estimated, enigmatic South African director. Like his magnificent masterpiece, Dust Devil, Hardware deals with similar themes - the desert, the Old Testament, and sexual violence. I first saw this movie many years ago when still basically a kid before I went to film school and certain sequences have stayed with me forever. Watching it again in 2005 the movie seems a little dated or rather post-rock video in places, but when it was made in 1990, this was all cutting-edge stuff. I am not giving anything away by saying that the plot is in many ways a re-working of The Terminator or Alien, when Dylan McDermott gives his girlfriend Jill (played by Stacey Travis)what he thinks is a load of unusual scrap metal salvaged from the desert. She is an artist and welds these robot parts to a sculpture she is making... This is an extremely visceral movie, laced with religious iconography (mark-13 often adopts crucifixion poses and in the shower scene at the end, appears to be in a prayer position) and boosted by an extremely eclectic and unusual cast. Motorhead singer Lemmy crops up playing a sort of ferryman, Iggy Pop plays DJ Angry Bob, and John Lynch is excellent as my favourite character from this film, Shades. The narrative is essentially straight-forward but what makes this movie different and memorable is Stanley's vision. The mise-en-scene is bleached red (post-appocalypse), the use of montage is often extremely effective and nightmarish and I was frequently reminded when watching it of Renaissence paintings, just in glimpses here and there (hell, maybe that's just me..!) There is also some American comment in this movie; mark-13 is adorned with a stars-and-stripes, and the deadly toxin it employs is described as 'smelling like apple pie'. This of course is akin to Dust Devil, where the demon is simply called 'Texas' by Wendy. So, to conclude, if you haven't seen this movie or heard of this director before I urge you to seek him out. Anyone with a love for avant-garde and challenging cinema (like me) should have heard of this guy (proper auteur by the way) and his thematically-consistent visions. This is still a fine film but probably hasn't aged as well as it might have done - it's strength is that it is far more complex than it first appears to be.
Sci-Fi / Thriller
Sci-Fi / Thriller
The head of a cyborg reactivates, rebuilds itself, and goes on a violent rampage in a space marine's girlfriend's apartment.
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May 19, 2019