'Hardware' goes haywire

September 14, 1990|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic

"Hardware" appears to have been photographed through an orange Chuckle. Everything in it is a gelid orangey hue that is supposed to communicate the aridity and temperature of the future. Instead it had the effect on this reviewer of reminding him that he likes the green Chuckle the best

The movie is a grim, drab science-fiction horror number that spends so much time being arty it never becomes good. Set in the by-now-banal post-apocalypse future, it develops the by-now-banal "evil robot" line, but without a lot of conviction and with a great deal of banality. And, in fact, the editing is so jumpy and nervous it's almost impossible in some sequences to follow the action. I hope the editor got help for his condition.

Here's the deal. A boy named Mo (Dylan McDermott) gives his artist girlfriend Jill (Stacy Travis) a strange robot head he's bought from a spaced-out forbidden zone traveler (these movies, of course, all have forbidden zones).

In any event, the head is part of a weapons system that has regenerative powers; in the young woman's funky apartment, it soon reassembles itself into some kind of clanking skeletal homicidal maniac and starts killing things. It kills nearly everything except the young woman.

The boy gets there; the robot kills him. The girl figures out how to kill the robot.

That's it, that's the movie. Why? That I couldn't tell you.


Starring Dylan McDermott and Stacy Travis.

Directed by Richard Stanley.

Released by Miramax.

Rated R.

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