Hardware 25th Anniversary Special Edition on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review

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Hardware is out now in a 25th Anniversary Special Edition, and is set out in the sticks, or what would pass for the sticks amongst a desolate planet. Moses Baxter (Dylan McDermott) finds and brings home the head of a defective maintenance droid, found out in the Zone by a Nomad, also known as a Zone Runner, since his better half, Jill (Stacey Travis), makes a living putting sculptures together and this piece would complete the picture nicely. Big mistake.

The setting for Hardware isn’t a dodgy ITV sitcom from 2003 with cardboard sets and unfunny jokes, but is actually a post-apocalyptic future world teeming with radiation and this particular type of government project droid, codenamed Mark 13, never came to fruition because it was deemed to malfunction – and how!

The robot rebuilds itself back into a killing machine, by using spare bits from around the house and topping it off with the head – just imagine if a cyborg head from the Terminator films could do that. However, it does take quite a while before it gets to that.

It’s difficult to quantify this film because it’s great when it’s going full-tilt for the last 40 mins, but for the preceeding 55 mins, my memory of what I saw when it first came out far exceeds what was actually there. There are, however, some amusing moments such as when Stacey, who lives like a student with a mess of an apartment, has a computer that keeps beeping out sounds like a BBC model B, and how she drinks tea made out of stick insects! Oh, and I’d also forgotten how gruesomely Eastenders Tony Carpenter (Oscar James) gets offed :) but I had remembered that there’s also an audio cameo from Iggy Pop as radio DJ Angry Bob.


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Hardware is billed as a 25th Anniversary Edition… well, it is the 25th anniversary, for sure, but that title conjures up images of lots of extras, remastered DTS 5.1 sound, lots of subtitles… and in all cases there is nothing!!

There are zero extras, the sound is in Dolby Stereo (which I could forgive if the director chose to stick with the original soundtrack) and there are no subtitles, which really isn’t on, these days.

The 2009 Blu-ray and DVD editions from Studiocanal contained Deleted/Extended scenes, a short film called Sea of Perdition short film, a “Voice of the Moon” documentary, Richard Stanley’s Super 8 Movies and a trailer. There was also a 26-page booklet of information about the film.

What have we got here? 2 collector’s cards (see below and click on the pic for the full-size version), which were also released with the 2009 version. Well, I don’t know if they are the precise same ones, but their inclusion is no reason to justify the removal of everything else. I’d really love to know what on earth happened here.


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Hardware is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition while the 2009 Special Edition looked awful, at least there’s some improvement here for the most part. There are still flecks on the print early on and it doesn’t look particularly fantastic to start with, making it look like someone’s forgotten to remaster it, but the majority of the studio-based scenes look a fair bit better. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.

Audiowise, although there’s no DTS/Dolby Digital soundtracks here, what we have got *is* on top-form, as much as it can, and comes loud and proud when the robot goes ape, as well as being crisp and clear for dialogue and for everything inbetween, especially the occasionally gory murder. I also loved the film’s theme by Public Image Ltd, “Order Of Death” (see below). As the chant goes from this song, “This is what you want, this is what you get.”

Well, we wanted a great Special Edition, but… this new release is what we get.

This disc has a static and silent menu and just one option to ‘play feature’. This is not what Special Edition releases are about, at all. Look to Arrow’s treatment of their back catalogue of releases for how it’s done. Hence, on balance, go for the aforementioned 2009 edition.

Hardware 25th Anniversary Special Edition is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.


Public Image Ltd: Order Of Death


FILM CONTENT
PICTURE QUALITY
SOUND QUALITY
EXTRAS
6
7
8
1
OVERALL 5.5

Cert:
Running time: 94 minutes
Year: 1990
Released: February 23rd 2015
Chapters: 12 plus extras
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Surround 2.0
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Widescreen: 1.85:1
16:9-Enhanced: Yes
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Richard Stanley
Producers: JoAnne Sellar and Paul Trijbits
Screenplay: Richard Stanley (from a short story, “SHOK!“, by Steve MacManus and Kevin O’Neill)
Original Score: Simon Boswell

Cast :
Moses Baxter: Dylan McDermott
Jill: Stacey Travis
Shades: John Lynch
Lincoln Wineberg Jr: William Hootkins
Angry Bob: Iggy Pop
Nomad: Carl McCoy
Alvy: Mark Northover
Vernon: Paul McKenzie
Taxi Driver: Lemmy
Chief: Oscar James


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