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Film: Hardware

No flesh shall be spared.

Hardware is a British Sci-Fi/Horror movie directed by Richard Stanley.In a post-apocalyptic desert, a wandering scavenger finds a dismembered robot buried in the sand, and takes the pieces back to the City to sell to Alvy, a scrap dealer. Also visiting the dealer are Moses "Hard Mo" Baxter and his Sidekick Shades. Mo is a (slightly) more professional scavenger; Shades...wears shades.Mo buys the most of the robot bits as a Christmas present for his girlfriend Jill who is a sculptor.

Jill lives in a tightly controlled apartment block in the dangerous inner City, and has been having trouble with a prowler, but is persuaded to let Mo in and he gives her the bag full of robot. Alvy, meanwhile, has been examining the remaining robot parts more closely and has made an alarming discovery. The robot is actually a M.A.R.K. 13 cyborg, a lethal prototype killing machine capable of rebuilding itself if damaged. He contacts Mo, and in a truly outstanding example of Plot-Induced Stupidity persuades Mo to come to the scrap yard - leaving Jill at home with the M.A.R.K. 13.

The robot accordingly rebuilds itself, using household appliances and sculpting tools to replace missing parts, and runs amuck. The bits left with Alvy also come to life, and Alvy is killed by lethal injection from a disembodied crawling claw. Mo, having found Alvy dead and realised the danger, rushes back to rescue Jill. Then things get seriously weird.

Shot on a very low budget, Hardware has become a definite Cult Classic, at least in the U.K. The story was based on a short comic strip set in the Judge Dredd universe, and the setting is generally acknowledged to be a far better depiction of a Mega-City than that seen in the 1995 film.


No examples shall be spared:

  • Artificial Limbs: Subverted- Mo has an artificial hand, but no reference is made to it and it doesn't give him super strength.
  • Batter Up: Jill arms herself with a baseball bat near the end.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Played straight once then subverted later
  • Cassandra Truth: Lincoln is too obsessed about Jill to care about her warnings of the killer robot inside her apartment.
  • Chainsaw Good: One of Mark 13's limbs has a circular saw attached to it. It also grabs an actual chainsaw by the end of the movie.
  • City of Canals: The factory district of Mega City One, where the water is hot due to the desert heat and polluted by garbage, industrial run-off and radiation.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Shades has traits of this.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Arguably, see Famous Last Words/ Final Speech.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The M.A.R.K. 13 can inject victims with a toxin which makes them hallucinate before dying; why this is more efficient than just killing them outright is never adequately explained.
    • Justified in that The M.A.R.K. 13 was never meant to be a battlefield weapon. It's quite clearly stated in the film that the M.A.R.K. 13 was designed and built to be an instrument of terror to be unleashed against the civilian population in order to hunt down and kill anyone who violated the Emergency Population Control Bill. The strange and disturbing manner in which the M.A.R.K. 13 kills is meant to send a message to the people. "If you violate the Population Control Bill, this will happen to you next."
  • Crapsack World: The City is basically Mega City One but without the Judges.
  • Determinator: M.A.R.K. 13
  • Downer Ending: The in-universe radio broadcast at the end of the movie says that the government is going to mass produce the M.A.R.K 13's, and they've also fixed their defects (more efficient programming and no longer disabled by water).
  • Expo Speak: Mostly averted but there are a couple of particularly jarring examples.
  • Eye Scream: M.A.R.K. 13 pokes Lincoln's eyes out when it's killing him.
  • Famous Last Words/ Final Speech: An interesting variant. While Mo is dying from the M.A.R.K 13's neurotoxin he talks about the M.A.R.K 13's water weakness, which Jill accesses from the M.A.R.K 13's databanks when hacking it while it recharges. Arguably justified, as he may have said it due to the mind-altering and hallucinogenic properties of the neurotoxin.
  • Hallucinations: Side-effect from M.A.R.K. 13's neurotoxins.
  • Harassing Phone Call: Lincoln makes these to Jill.
  • It Can Think: Heavily implied with the M.A.R.K. 13. It comes up with two cruel yet creative ambushes/traps, exhibits sadistic tendencies and seems surprised that water disables it.
  • Made of Iron: M.A.R.K. 13 gets up after repeated gunshots, even a point-blank shotgun blast to the head. The shots eventually damage and help destroy it after the water damages its wiring.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: M.A.R.K. 13.
  • Mutants: Averted, exposure to radiation has caused stunted growth and deformities but no cool powers.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Heard when Lincoln is stalking Jill with his infrared camera.
  • Plot-Induced Stupidity: Although Alvy's reluctance to talk over the phone is understandable he could surely have told Mo to bring Jill with him, or take her somewhere else.
    • Alvy did tell Mo to bring the M.A.R.K. 13 with him, though he could've suggested taking Jill when Mo objected. Upon finding Alvy's corpse and information on how deadly the M.A.R.K. 13 was he got help and headed back to rescue Jill.
  • Population Control: The dystopian variety. There are laws prohibiting the number of children allowed due to deformities brought on by the radiation and limited resources while sterilization treatments are encouraged. The government then produced the M.A.R.K. 13 robots to kill the excess population/ terrify the remaining people into obeying population control laws.
  • Scavenger World: Not quite, but it is implied to be going that way
  • Self-Constructed Being: the MARK 13.
  • Shout-Out: To Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
    Shades: "My heart...it feels like an alligator."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Lincoln, who lives in a building next to Jill's apartment, and spies on her.
  • Stunt Casting: Lemmy as a taxi driver, Iggy Pop as a D.J. and Carl McCoy from Fields of the Nephilim as the wanderer.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Attempted by Mo on himself. It doesn't work.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Shades never takes off his sunglasses.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The M.A.R.K.13 can be disabled by water.
  • World War III: The story either happens at the tail end of this or sometime afterward with a more minor conflict still going on.

Hard to KillFilms of the 1990sThe Hunt for Red October
Happy Hell NightHorror FilmsHatchet

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