Hardware (1990) You Can’t Stop Progress

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This film is considered by many to be the first 2000 AD film. It is based on a short in the comic that takes place just after the Cursed Earth story in the Judge Dredd universe. Having been released in 1990 you will not see much in the way of computer graphics for special effects except for that of computer screens and IR displays. Most of the film used physical props for all of the special effects as well as models. It is amazing what film makers were able to do without having to rely on a computer. Even though the film is gritty and at times gory you really do not see the budget constraints that it was under. It was made for under 1 Million Pounds.

This film is not as polished as other films that you might see and the main reason I wanted to see it is that it took place in the Judge Dredd universe. Granted it takes place before Dredd but it is part of the back story and history of how the Mega Cities came into being and how harsh it is in the cursed earth. It takes place before the great walls were built around the cities and battles are still being fought over the resources that are left. We are even shown that there are working space stations that people commute to which was never shown in the Dredd film staring Sylvester Stallone. You could say that the star of this film was the Hardware itself and that the 2 leading actors were actually supporting cast.

I will warn you, this film does have sex and it does have blood and gore. The clips that were cut were added back in on the Blue-ray version of the film. The clips were removed in 1990 to keep the film R rated instead of getting a harsher X rating that it would have gotten back then. You will see simulated sex that could be real and see bodies drilled into and cut in half in some of the goriest ways you might be able to think of. But, the gore and the sex are actually done in such a way as to add to the film and is not the main purpose of the film like Piranha 3D was, gods, what a stupid piece of cellulose that film was.

Moses Baxter (Dylan McDermott) is a soldier and is on his way to see his girlfriend that he has not seen in some time. He wants to make sure that he has something special for her and finds that in some junk that a Nomad (Carl McCoy) brings in to sell. The Nomad found the remains of a robot in the deserts of the Cursed Earth and is looking to get paid for it. It is a prototype for something that the government wants to use to help control population. Little does anyone know just how deadly the bot really is, even in its broken up and shattered form.

Jill (Stacey Travis) is and artist living in a Mega Block complex for artists and is struggling with a current project of hers that she just can’t seem to finish. It is while she is working on this that Moses shows up with Shades (John Lynch) who works in space. After some chiding Jill lets them in and Mo gives her what he got from the Nomad. She is so thrilled with what he brought her that they immediate kiss, head to the shower and then into bed. Little doe either of them know that both the robot head and a creepy sleaze Lincoln Wineberg Jr. (William Hootkins) are watching them have sex.

Shortly after in the middle of the night Jill decides to get high, yet again, and starts painting the head with the stars and stripes and puts it as the centerpiece of her project that she couldn’t figure out how to finish. No wakes up and pulls her away for some sleep and the bot starts pulling itself together and using anything that it can to create its body. Once finished and Mo is out of the apartment it starts on a killing spree that just wont stop till it itself is destroyed.

As you can see there is a decent plot for the film but due to budget constraints it really didn’t live up to its potential. It still has all the elements that the classic thrill and horror seekers want, it just isn’t as polished as what they are used to seeing. I will say this, both my wife and my son could not bring themselves to be able to finish watching the film, especially once they saw a door slice the security guard in half.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★☆☆☆