Hardware (1990, Richard Stanley)

Hardware looks a lot like an A-ha music video… but not in a bad way. Richard Stanley is a decent enough director.

The plot’s pretty simple, beneath all the sci-fi decorations. It’s the end of a slasher movie, when the hero or heroine has to fight the villain all by him or herself. There’s no actual narrative to Hardware, except in terms of being a narrative mess.

Maybe if Stanley could write well, not having a narrative wouldn’t matter. But he doesn’t write well at all.

Much of the present action is real time, which makes it hard for the film to get a sturdy footing. Like I said before, it’s a slasher movie. Sure, it’s post-apocalyptic, full of Biblical references, but it’s just a slasher movie.

There’s a lot of good acting in it.

John Lynch is really good. William Hootkins has the biggest role I’ve ever seen him in (as a grotesque peeping tom), he’s pretty good. Dylan McDermott can’t surmount the inherent weakness to his character, but he’s still okay.

I thought it was Nancy Travis in Hardware, but it’s Stacey Travis. She’s okay, but it’s hard not to watch it thinking Nancy Travis would have done a better job.

Technically, it’s a jumble. Simon Boswell’s music is bad. But there’s some cool stop motion to make up for it. Stanley does compose a few nice sci-fi shots.

It’s a lot of work to figure out Hardware and it’s not worth the effort.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Richard Stanley; screenplay by Stanley and Michael Fallon, based on a comic by Steve MacManus and Kevin O’Neill; director of photography, Steven Chivers; edited by Derek Trigg; music by Simon Boswell; production designer, Joseph Bennett; produced by JoAnne Sellar and Paul Trijbits; released by Palace Pictures.

Starring Dylan McDermott (Moses Baxter), Stacey Travis (Jill), John Lynch (Shades), William Hootkins (Lincoln Wineberg Jr.), Iggy Pop (Angry Bob), Carl McCoy (Nomad), Mark Northover (Alvy), Paul McKenzie (Vernon) and Lemmy (Taxi Driver).

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