So when an outlandish red-band trailer surfaced online months ago for another grindhouse tribute flick, Hobo with a Shotgun, the question was raised: Was there any possible way this film could live up to such craziness?
Rutger Hauer (The Hitcher, Blade Runner) is a hobo who rolls into a deteriorating, crime-ridden town (think Escape from New York meets Robocop’s Old Detroit), only to find it overrun by violence and ruled by a vicious crime lord known as the Drake (Brian Downey). The hobo's solution: Pick up a shotgun and start laying waste to crooks, corrupt cops, and lowlifes who cross his path.
It’s funny how mindset and time of day can affect one’s opinion.
After a late-night, caffeine-ridden viewing, it felt like Hobo director Jason Eisener just missed living up to the hype brought about by the trailer. The film seemed compelling yet uneven, with only nominal character development beyond the relationship between Hauer’s hobo and Abby (Molly Dunsworth), the hooker he’s sworn to protect.
But after a second viewing the following day, my head was in the right place to soak in everything Hobo had to offer: It’s an over-the-top, blood-drenched, blood-spurting riot that would make a young Peter Jackson proud (Eisener even offers an homage to Jackson’s splatter classic Dead Alive by featuring a lawnmower as a body-chopping weapon).
Hauer overdelivers nearly all of his vengeful-vagabond dialogue, and rightly so, given the campy and exploitative nature of the film. But screenwriter John Davies saves most of the best lines for the supporting cast of baddies: There are so many ridiculously raunchy catchphrases that I can’t repeat them all here, let alone pick the best one. Beyond the actors and the action, the atmosphere of Hobo is accentuated by two key factors: its oversaturated color scheme and the retro/synth-heavy score by Darius Holbert and Russ Howard III.
Hobo with a Shotgun is an all-out attack on the senses. It’s part grindhouse homage, part graphic novel come to life, and totally out of control…but in the most entertaining way possible.
Fun fact: Much like Machete, Hobo with a Shotgun originated as a fake trailer for Grindhouse (but was only attached to the Canadian theater release). The trailer, also directed by Eisener, was the winner of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Grindhouse fake trailer competition.
Is it suitable for your kids?Hell. No. On top of the endless profanity, the vulgar threats made to random victims (most of whom are women), and the occasional nudity, the violence is graphic and relentless. People are decapitated, disemboweled, dismembered, crushed, tortured, hanged, shot, and stabbed. In addition, a baddie blowtorches a busload of kids, and in one scene Hauer’s hobo chews on broken glass.
Will your FilmMother want to watch it?I’m guessing no, unless she’s into grindhouse flicks and can stomach a lot of bloody, graphic violence. Hobo’s more for a group of guys who can play off each other and hoot it up about the insanity taking place on the screen.
"Please don't shoot my dick off! I still have a lot of f**king left to do!"
(Actual line from the movie.)
(Actual line from the movie.)
Hobo with a Shotgun
* Director: Jason Eisener
* Screenwriter: John Davies
* Stars: Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Molly Dunsworth, Nick Bateman, Brian Downey, Jeremy Akerman
* MPAA Rating: R
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