Thursday, April 12, 2012
It Came From Netflix:Hardware(1990)
As mentioned on the previous episode of DBHR http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ericdescent/2012/04/12/dollar-bin-horror-radioepisode-lvi-the-radioactive-dead
I got the chance to watch this movie yesterday before the show. Admittedly, I haven't watch a whole heckuva post-apocalyptic horror fare. Not because I don't like the genre, I just really have that as a preferred choice when it comes to movies. With Hardware, directed by Richard Stanley, we see a dystopian world ravaged from the effects of a nuclear holocaust.
People exist in industrialized slums kept running on outdated and decaying computer technology. A nomad zone tripper, comes across the remains of a robot buried in the sand. He collects the pieces and takes them to junk dealer Alvy who is talking with 'Hard Mo' Baxter,a soldier in the corps returning home from duty on December 24th during the Christmas cease-fire, and his friend, Shades. Seeing the robot parts, Moses asks the nomad where he found them, to which he repiles, "...Glass Flats, Dune Sea—I go all over." Mo strikes a deal with the nomad to buy them, hoping that they could be a Christmas present for his blow-torch metal sculptor and painter artist girlfriend, Jill Berkowski,a recluse who never leaves her apartment.
Moses and Shades head back to the apartment building amidst news of a new government initiative to enforce sterilizations to reduce overpopulation; Moses and Jill had intended to start a family but are reluctant to do so due to post-atomic genetic mutation.
After Moses falls asleep in Jill's apartment, Jill awakes and takes the skull and other parts of the robot while using a cardboard box full of plastic baby-dolls that Shades found on the steets, and begins blow torch welding them into a scultpture under the dim light of an LED decibel display of a sound stereo's graphic equalizer.
Later that night, Moses is vid-phoned by Alvy, who researched the robot parts that Moses purchased. They turn out to be components of a new government project called the M.A.R.K.-13, labeled as a CLASS/TYPE A-DELIVERER—capable of independent intelligence, self repair, and the ability to recharge itself using any available electric source, the type was halted because of a defect in its moisture insulation system. Alvy tells Moses, excited by their find. Before leaving, Moses, struck by the familiarity of the phrase "Mark 13," consults his Bible, and discovers that the passage contains the phrase, "no flesh shall be spared" (Mark 13:20). He becomes suspicious that the acronym is an inspiration to the android's name in a government plot of human genocide.
Before Moses can make it to Alvy's, a piece of the robot at Alvy's shop reactivates and kills him by injecting him with a cytotoxin that causes hallucinations and brief euphoria before death. Moses finds the body and after consulting Alvy's notes on the robot, calls Shades to help him rescue Jill. Meanwhile, Shades, whose apartment is covered in Eastern objects, has fallen into a drug-induced Kundalini syndrome and is unable to answer his vid-phone.
Back at the apartment, the robot has reassembled itself using pieces of Jill's metal sculptures, recharging off of the apartment's computer network. It tries to kill Jill, but she manages to trap it in a room. Lincoln Wineberg, a peeping tom who has been spying on Jill, sees the device close the blinds in her apartment, stopping him from spying. He goes over to check on her, insisting she reopen the blinds, but she denies doing it and realizes someone or something is in the apartment. When Wineberg re-opens the blinds, he is killed by the M.A.R.K.-13 which closed them to keep its actions covert, knowing he was spying. Jill manages to damage the robot before Moses and Shades arrive with the apartment's security team. The men open fire on the machine, apparently destroying it.
Jill is suddenly thrown out of the high-rise's window by the still-mobile M.A.R.K.-13, and falls into an apartment on a lower story. While everyone else goes to Jill's rescue, Moses struggles with the robot. He manages to cripple it, but is injected with the cytotoxin. As he dies, Moses recounts the machine's manufacturing defect.
Jill wakes up and heads back upstairs to rescue Moses. The robot uses a hacked automatic door to cut a security guard in half, and the dying man kills his partner with friendly fire. As the robot recharges itself on the building's mainframe, Jill hacks into its CPU, accessing its memory bank, and hearing a recording of Moses' dying words.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable film. It hit a standard sci-fi theme of dystopia right on the head. The government portion of the story is very relatable, especially in today's world. The acting was superb. And two rock-n-roll icons were featured(Lemmy, Iggy Pop). For a good 20 minutes or so, we see some great suspenseful tension that kept me glued to my screen(sorry for the cliche). And the kills scenes were just intense(the sliding door, anyone?)
The only major flaw I saw was toward the end, I think if we saw flashbacks of the victims, it wouldn't have felt maybe a little tacked on, almost an afterthought. But, that notwithstanding, I recommend this.