“Hobo with a Shotgun” is exactly what its name makes it out to be. Originally conceived as a mock trailer for a contest that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez had to accompany their “Grindhouse” double-feature on the big screen. It won top prize and years later it is hitting the big screen as a feature-length film.
Not much explanation is needed for the plot of the film: a homeless man (Rutger Hauer) arrives on a train to a place called “Hope Town” but the town is anything but hopeful. Overflowing with thieves, vandals, murderers, drug dealers and prostitutes, it is the true sin city, thanks to a crime lord (Brian Downey) and his malicious murdering sons, Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick (Gregory Smith).
The hobo rescues a prostitute (Molly Dunsworth) from being killed by Slick and she shows him compassion. Now, with a new friend in this wretched place, the hobo wants to just live in peace. However, after witnessing senseless murders over and over again, he decides to take back the city and show its citizens that they don’t have to live in fear. As he hunts down every drug dealer, gang member and pedophile, he deals out justice the only way he knows how, with a shotgun.
“Hobo with a Shotgun” is one part grindhouse, one part ’80s horror gore fest and one part cautionary tale. It is shot with bright vibrant Technicolor that makes you think of “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy first steps out of her house for the first time. The film is accompanied by soft melodic tunes while people are being ravaged and tore apart onscreen. It almost seems like a satirical parody of a true grindhouse film, with enough blood and guts to make Tarantino himself jealous.
The action and effects are over-the-top — and that just adds to its charm. Hauer kicks some serious butt at the ripe old age of 67, and knowing this fact just makes it even more fun. This is definitely a film for the hard-core fans, not to be enjoyed by casual movie-goers; you must know what you’re getting into when you watch it otherwise you may become bored or confused.
Meant to be a fun, blood-filled ride, it has a major message at its core — you must stand up for what you believe is right, no matter what. Director Jason Eisner has taken the concept and fully embraced the carnage and ridiculousness of it and made it into an enjoyable, fun film. Eisner proves able not only to handle the more outrageous moments with ease, but also the many action-packed scenes as well. The wit of the writing helps take the edge off during the film’s many decapitations, mutilations and shotgun shells to the gut, but these tiny moments of relief don’t last long.
To sum up, “Hobo with a Shotgun” is for serious genre fans and gore-lovers who revel in a bloody mess onscreen. So if you find yourself in any of those categories, then this might be the movie for you.
“Hobo with a Shotgun” opens in limited release in the U.S. on May 6 and is rated R for violence, language, sexual references, nudity, and drug use.
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