2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A mixed bag, but mainly good,
This review is from: Hardware - Special Edition [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I have always been a big fan of post-apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi and when Hardware came to the cinema in the early 90s I thought it was excellent. Coming back to it decades later on Blu-Ray, I still enjoyed it but it has some flaws and has not aged particularly well.
The grimy near-future setting is generally well done and the low budget adds to the realism - this is not the glossy CGI future of modern sci-fi. Little details like the chicken wire over the door entrance video screen were neatly done. Less impressive is the sense of scope - most of the film takes place in a small apartment and overall there is little sense of what cities look like in the future, though that is probably a factor of the low budget.
A few things annoyed me on re-watching the film. First, at the outset, DJ Angry Bob announces that the temperature will be over 100F (37C), yet all the main characters wear heavy WW2 bomber jackets and overcoats. It's a small inconsistency, but undermines credibility early on. I also agree with another reviewer that Mark 13's prediliction for gratuitous torture seems unncessary and unrealistic. Though again this is a small point, it does take the film into the realm of horror rather than sci-fi.
The other niggle, which has greater impact given the length of the sequence, is the death caused by the injection from Mark 13 and the subsequent hallucination sequence. It is plain awful, far too long and the use of fractals really dates it. The scene where Stanley directs Mark 13 as if a DJ with fireworks exploding around it as it leers forward into the fish-eye lens is inadvertently comical. The whole sequence detracts from the film and betrays Stanley's pop video background.
I should add that the soundtrack is outstanding and one I still listen to regularly. The score from Simon Boswell is brilliant, particularly the tracks Everything Is Under Control and It's Horrible...I Love It...What Is It? The additional music from PiL and Ministry is top notch too.
Overall, despite its flaws, Hardware is still an impressive little cult film. It is such a shame that British cinema now seems obsessed with gangster / geezer movies when it has a great tradition of low-budget sci-fi B movies, of which this is a prime example.