• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Hardware

TITLE: Hardware

YEAR: 1990

GENRE: Science Fiction

There is a saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but plagiarism will always land a production in court. Back in the late 1980’s director Richard Stanley wrote and created a science fiction called Hardware that was released in late 1990 within the United States. An executive from 2000 AD, a weekly British science fiction comic book series, believed that the film was very much like “SHOK! Walter’s Robo-Tale” which was a story previously published in their anthology. The company sued the film production and did win the later rights to have the authors’ names (Steve Mac Manus and Kevin O’Neill) listed with full writers’ credits. Hardware was proven in court to be a plagiarism, but it does not take an Einstein to see that the film used many influences to create a run-of-the-mill and fairly stale production.

In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by radiation, soldier Moses Baxter (played by Dylan McDermott) buys the remains of a robot from a travelling nomad. Moses is looking forward to seeing his artistic girlfriend Jill (Stacey Travis) and plans to give his significant other the parts for her art. Moses and Bill also want to have a baby, but governmental restrictions and radioactive contamination encourage to not conceive any offspring. As Jill begins to put the scrapped machine back into one piece she discovers that the head of the android has an uncanny ability to reconstruct itself out of available parts and recharge itself with any electrical source. Moses is amazed by this discovery and decides to research his unique find. Moses is surprised by his find: his pile of scrap metal is a M.A.R.K.-13, an unstoppable military machine to send to foreign countries and world to fight wars whose only objective is to kill.

As mentioned before, the big problem with Hardware is the fact that it is not very original and has been proven to be a page by page plagiarism from material borrowed without permission. Various aspects from The Road Warrior, Terminator, and Blade Runner were obviously lifted for use in hardware which shows a severe lack of creative integrity. At $1.5 million this was quite a small budget for a science fiction film in 1990 especially considering it received national distribution in the theaters, and the low budget shines through in some dark cinematography and occasional shoddy sets. The acting is average at best although the acting by McDermott does stand out above the rest of the cast. The art direction is the highlight here with a post-punk vibe in Jill’s art room that does stand out as inventive. There are a few rock legends that perform small parts in the film such as Iggy Pop as an irritated DJ and Lemmy from Motorhead as a cab driver, but neither cameo role adds enough to save the film from its stolen storyline.

The comic series AD 2000 was also used in the movies a few years later when Sylvester Stallone became judge, jury, and executioner in the futuristic action cop movie Judge Dredd in 1996. Stanley continued directing the 1996 sci-fi/horror remake The Island of Dr. Moreau and is currently writing independent films being made in his native France. There is nothing wrong with using influences in making a magnum opus, but stealing material openly and not crediting the source is never acceptable. Hardware does have a few creative ideas, but overall it is not too special and the viewer will feel as if they have been this kettle of fish before. New ideas need to be continually injected into a genre to keep it fresh and inviting, and unfortunately Hardware does not offer much in the creativity department.

* *

–Mark

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