5.9/10
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Hardware (1990)

The head of a cyborg reactivates and rebuilds itself and goes on a violent rampage in a space marine's girlfriend's apartment.

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(story "SHOK!"), (story "SHOK!") | 2 more credits »
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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul McKenzie ...
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Taxi Driver
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Mac McDonald ...
Chris McHallem ...
Barbara Yu Ling ...
Oscar James ...
Arnold Lee ...
Susie Savage ...
Chinese Family (as Susie Ng)
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Storyline

In the future, a nuclear war has transformed the Earth into a radioactive wasteland where the sea has dried up leaving it as a post-apocalyptic desert. In the desert, A desert scavenger named Nomad discovers a robotic head, arriving in New York City, A space marine named Moses Baxter buys the robotic head from Nomad as a Christmas present for his girlfriend Jill Grakowski, who decides to use it for one of her sculptures. But all hell starts breaking loose, when the robotic head is activated and begins to rebuilt itself. When Alvy, a junkyard dealer discover the robotic head is a Mark 13, a military cyborg of a project that was abandoned. Moses learns Jill's life is in danger, as the Mark 13 cyborg goes on a violent rampage in Jill's apartment as Jill has become the the prime target for extermination. Written by Daniel Williamson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It activates it exhilarates... it exterminates See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

14 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

M.A.R.K. 13  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,728,953 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was originally given an X rating by the MPAA in America because of its graphic scenes of extreme violence. Significant cuts had to be made in these scenes in order to secure an R rating. See more »

Goofs

After Jill attacks it with the buzz-saw, the Mark 13 steps back: if you look closely, you can see the legs of the man underneath the droid suit. The same thing can be seen towards the end as Jill and the robot are entering the bathroom. See more »

Quotes

Taxi Driver: Used to be okay down here, you know that? Used to be you could walk down here any time. Go out on a Saturday night with just brass knuckles, nothing else. Maybe a piece of wood or something, piece of pipe, you know what I mean? Nowadays, you need a gun, all the time. Fucking bunch of shit what these people are doing to the fucking world.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in In the Belly of the Beast (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Order of Death
Written by John Lydon, Keith Levene and Martin Atkins
Performed by Public Image Ltd.
Published by EMI Songs Ltd/Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd/Complete Music Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Richard Stanley show
25 June 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

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.


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