September 19, 2011

Rabid Rewind: Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun
starring Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith
directed by Jason Eisner
written by John Davies
released 2010

How do you make a really good movie out of nothing but a fake trailer? Well, you don't. You make Hobo with a Shotgun.

The plot is the movie title. You've got a hobo, played by none other than Rutger Hauer, who arrives in a city ruled by a criminal element led by a psychopath called the Drake. The hobo just wants to scrape up enough money to buy a lawnmower though, so he can start a horticulture business I suppose. He picked a crap town to do it in, since I don't see any lawns in a drab cityscape populated by the morally bankrupt. Thugs, crooked cops, pedophiles, pimps, prostitutes, and a guy with a camera exploiting the homeless. But, he's eventually dragged into the fight against evil and instead buys a shotgun--and a shitload of shells.

I gotta say that out of all the movies associated with the Grindhouse franchise, Hobo with a Shotgun only interested me for two reasons: 1) Rutger Hauer, who I haven't seen in a starring role in ages; 2) the movie is filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. If this film had been made in Asbury Park or Des Moines, I wouldn't have given a damn. There was that homegrown element to it that peaked my interest.

As it stands, the movie is drenched in a weird 80s, dystopian backdrop. It's kind of like a view of the near future via a 1987 kaleidoscope. I even saw an honest-to-god K car (anyone remember those?). Ultra-violent, accentuated with hammy dialogue, the movie is more amusing than engaging. I remember someone saying--maybe it was author Jeff Strand--"if you're the kind of person who wants to see Hobo with a Shotgun, you're going to love Hobo with a Shotgun." That just about sums up the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it.

I didn't love it, though. And I think that's because I didn't want to see it for the same reason as most folks. I basically just wanted to see it so I could say I've seen it, sort of like the audience for The Human Centipede, a movie I do not want to see.

It's a conveniently short movie, clocking in around 100 minutes, yet it seemed to take forever for the hobo to get his shotgun. At least when the gunplay started, the entertainment factor went way up, and the ending was deliciously ridiculous. The practical effects, as silly as they were at times like Rutger Hauer bursting through the entrails of a slain villain used as camouflage, were a welcome respite from the ceaseless CGI of today's films too, to be honest. And, I think it works really well as an homage to those low-budget, low-rent action movies of the 80s, but the characters (especially the villains) felt like parodies rather than tributes. I'll sum the movie up by reiterating that if you're the kind of person who wants to watch Hobo, you're going to love Hobo.


  1. I gotta say I was disappointed. The trailer (the real one, featuring Rutger Hauer) had a killer monologue and Hauer looked fantastically cast but it's really more a follower than a leader in the grindhouse genre. It's just imitating the classics of the genre.

  2. Boo! This movie was maritime-made, maritime-conceived, and had people from Trailer Park Boys - you're supposed to PRAISE IT TO THE HEAVENS AS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER! At least, those are the rules, right? I haven't lived in NS for years so I don't remember.
    Anyhow, good review and thanks for being honest. Rare in the horror genre.

  3. Ben - Yeah, the trailer was amazing.

    Mac - I may be a homer, but I'm not going to pander ... much. :)