Film Review

B Movie Glory: Hobo With A Shotgun

When they announced Hobo With A Shotgun, it was a given that it would be a pretty fucked up flick once it hit screens. It’s based on the old 70’s grindhouse vibe and… the thing is called fucking hobo with a shotgun, so it’s got to test some boundaries, right? Well. It sure does. This makes Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s sister efforts at this brand of homage look like Blues Clues in comparison, it’s so messed up. The sheer level of sustained cartoon brutality and cheerful, reckless abandon displayed in violence and mayhem is really something to behold, if it doesn’t induce seizures before you have time to process it. Casting the Hobo was always gonna be a fun boardroom session, and I’d love to see the names thrown around (my initial pick was Gary Busey) before they settled on genre five-star veteran Rutger Hauer, a brilliant actor and a fine pick by anyone’s watch, but also a bit more of a laconic, paced dude than some of the more manic character actors they could have gone with (imagine Robin Williams in Death To Smoochy mode). The Hobo arrives in a hellish nightmare city (actually Halifax) and finds it overrun with crime, depravity and corruption of the highest order, so he embarks on a feverish crusade of street justice with the help of a trusty pump action shotgun and joined by a hooker with a heart of gold (Molly Dunsworth). The film is like skid row had a bad dream, a technicolor galaxy of graphic, relentless violence and terror, as crime boss Drake (Brian Downey) and his two bratty, psychotic jock kids (Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman) rule over everyone with a spiked iron fist and dispense literal genocide on civilians at will, until the Hobo steps in to add to the commotion, one shell at a time. The acting (besides Hauer, who plays it dangerously calm for the most part) is so far over the top it would make David Lynch and John Waters nervous, the villain actors reaching heights of mania and having conniptions until we’re expecting them to seize up themselves. The violence ranges from hands in a lawnmower, maiming via ice skates, a gnarly razor blade covered baseball bat, decapitating trip wires and so much more. It gets so far over the top that the human villains feel they’re not enough to match the madness and they summon literal demon biker robots from hell to take the Hobo out, which are a neat effect. If you can stomach an hour and a half of this kind of carnage and chaos, you’ll be in low rent genre heaven, but it’s quite an eyeball melting spectacle to sit though. In any case it should be seen just to see how far some filmmakers are willing to go to shock, awe and gross out an audience, while still retaining an artful flourish, distinctive style and immersive atmosphere.

-Nate Hill

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