|A Blast of Dark, Dark Humor. Also, GORE.|
Even N.W.A. would be shy in Hobo With A Shotgun's Hope Town, immediately made evident in its darkness with "Hope" replaced with a graffiti "Scum", and subtitled with a spray-painted "Hell on Earth." If a world of Slim Shadies built a city and it was run by Peter Stormare's Lucifer, it would still probably tame in comparison to this city belonging to The Drake, (Brian Downey) a narcissist who murders to earn the fear of the citizens. He's already bought the city's police, all the women he could ever want, and has turned Hope Town into his own personal murder amusement park.
Enter Rutger Hauer's role as our titular hobo, who remains unnamed throughout the film, and a classic tale of "the stranger in town" who redeems the people of a grim city. The story, from that point forward, takes some extremely dark and bizarre turns, and it doesn't take long for a viewer to know whether or not they should be watching this movie. The first execution in the film involves a man having his head stuck through a manhole cover, and a barbed wire noose is strung around his neck as a truck drives away with the other end. Suddenly, a woman in a bikini begins to dance orgiastically in the blood, tasting as much as she can before the flow finally drops away. This is the sort of madness that only grows wilder throughout Hobo with a Shotgun, and those who are not interested in this sort of film will find themselves incredibly misled by the moniker.
That said, Rutger Hauer does play an excellent Hobo with a Shotgun, and pretty much every line he does bother to speak is a classic. The film is full of dumb one-liners and non sequiturs, but in trying to parody grindhouse film it wildly succeeds. His character is at times full of bizarre, naïve dementia and extreme rage, and Rutger's performance suits both nicely. His counterpart, a young prostitute by the name of Abby (Molly Dunsworth) is a nice reflection for him, and she reminds us of what reality could be.
Smart heroes, however, do not a pulp film make. It is the absolute evil of The Drake and his children (strange combinations of The Situation and John Travolta from Grease) that really make this movie iconic. Some really, really dark things happen through their actions, and while I'm usually okay with extremely gory material, Hobo with a Shotgun occasionally takes it farther than is necessary or desirable for casual fans of the grindhouse genre.
Unfortunately, it's hard to say a lot about anything other than the performances and gore in Hobo with a Shotgun. The writing, cinematography, and music are all intentionally callbacks to the awful style of grindhouse films. It's less stylized than grindhouse videogames like House of the Dead: Overkill or MadWorld, but it's all still in the same wheelhouse. It's not especially remarkable, but it's well-done, and even those who aren't fans of the genre will be able to recognize the level of craft on display. Those who actively dislike the genre, however, will probably not get much out of it.
The film does occasionally suffer from overindulgence in terms of its length and repetition of gimmicks, but its characters and the portrayals of them are so strong that it makes the spectacle interesting. There's really not a whole lot to say about Hobo with a Shotgun; it apes the style of grindhouse movies nicely, and it supplies its viewers with interesting enough characters to permit casual fans of the genre to enjoy it. I recommend the film.
Hobo With a Shotgun Trailer
This appears to deliver on what the title has promised. And with Rutger Hauer, to boot!
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