Let’s see if I can describe to you the plot of this movie. There’s this hobo, see? And he has this shotgun, right? And he is really pissed off about all the crime in the city, so he goes around killing all the unsavory, criminal types.
Let’s see if I can describe to you the plot of this movie. There’s this hobo, see? And he has this shotgun, right? And he is really pissed off about all the crime in the city, so he goes around killing all the unsavory, criminal types. There’s a lot of blood and gore. A LOT. If there’s any underlying philosophical message, or any high-faluttin’ commentary, it has been covered up in layers of cheese, ultra-violence, and the ultimate in over-saturation of color. Maybe some snooty “feelm” snobs will have more to say about it, but you won’t be able to hear them over the sound of your own giddy laughter as you watch in disbelief the comical horrors of Hobo With a Shotgun.
If you want the envelope pushed, you came to the right movie. Hobo With a Shotgun, based on one of the fake trailers that played in the Rodriguez/Tarantino film Grindhouse, is indeed about a hobo, played almost totally straight by the awesome Rutger Hauer, that jumps off the rails at a place called Hope Town, literally hoping to find some peace. But when he finds the city is nick-named Hell Town, he finds it’s a very apropos change.
Everywhere he turns there’s violence, murder, mayhem, as the controller of this place is Drake (Brian Downey), a white-suited crime boss with a penchant for public torture and game-show style murder. His two sons, Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick, played by Gregory Smith, who played Treat “The Beard” Williams son on that show Everwood, are just as unsavory as pops. Talk about diametrical roles. If Smith was trying to distance himself from his family-friendly Everwood role, he sure accomplished it. Nothing says “forget what you think you know about me” better than torching a school bus full of kids.
After trying to stay out of all these villainous goings on, our Hobo hero can take no more. He just wanted to save up and get a lawnmower to start a new life, but instead chose a shotgun – conveniently during a pawn shop robbery. After dispatching said robbers with delightfully maximum, force, he goes after every thug, crook and n’er do well in town. And of course he saves local hooker with a heart of gold, Abby (Molly Dunsworth) from an injustice, and they become fast friends.
This movie is so over-the-top insane, you might not know what hit you. Written and directed by Jason Eisener, Hobo With a Shotgun is like a grindhouse film on acid. The colors are so…bright, vivid. The dialogue is often absurd, and the acting is very over-the-top. Camera angles? All kinds. And the blood and gore? A barrage of imaginative, explosive squib-fests, entrails and decapitations. And it’s all pretty silly, too, so laugh away. In Drake’s big hideout, they have bumper cars with metal plates on the front designed to crush the heads of homeless people. Fun!
This movie will offend many, unless you know what you’re getting into and enjoy this kind of thing. Like I did. Rutger Hauer is awesome, and plays it pretty low key. He has some really weird dialogue, like a speech about the nature of bears. He isn’t crazy, just a guy that clearly carries some serious meloncholy about some unknown past. Everyone else in this is quite sufficient, especially considering the type of film it is. But everyone commits to this low budget trip to crazy town.
There are some small things that I’m not sure are supposed to be intentional or not, but I’m going to say they are. Like, never do we see the Hobo buy shells for his shotgun. And he never runs out. But frankly, who cares. That just keeps the killing moving. Do you need a break? No, I didn’t think so. Clearly this didn’t have the budget that Grindhouse did, and that works for and maybe against it. It allowed much more freedom of creativity, but also gives me more doubt about anyone really making a bigger mark for themselves career-wise. I don’t know that Rutger Hauer will have a resurgence like Travolta did after Pulp Fiction.
But nonetheless, this is a gleefully entertaining grindhouse type gore fest and if that’s your bag, you’ll enjoy the Hell outta this. I’m giving Hobo With a Shotgun three and a half or so kittenhands. Less if you don’t like this kind of movie. don’t bring your grandparents to see this. And maybe not your parents, either. Unless they’re homicidal maniacs, in which case, hey, popcorn’s on me!
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie goer, thinking this might be my last positive response a grindhouse style film. We can probably put this trend on hiatus now along with vampire movies.