Friday, December 30, 2011

"Maybe you'll end up like me. A hobo with a shotgun."

Film: Hobo with a Shotgun
Year: 2011
Director: Jason Eisener
Written by: John Davies
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Nick Bateman, Drew O'Hara, Molly Dunsworth, Robb Wells, Brian Downey, Jeremy Akerman.
Running time: 86 min.

Sometimes you have to be so wrong to be right. Hobo with a Shotgun is a film which lives up to it's silly-sounding title. Beginning it's life as a cheaply shot fake trailer chosen by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez as the winner of a competition to have it play before Grindhouse (a.k.a Death Proof and Planet Terror), director Jason Eisener decided to make a full-length feature about the hobo searching for justice. Funnily enough, last year Rodriguez did the same thing with his fake trailer Machete, but that movie only came out with middling results. Eisener's Hobo with a Shotgun, though, with a smaller budget and a smaller cast, comes out on top because I found it far more fun. Which is weird considering all it is is a whole lot of people getting killed.

It's hard to say whether Hobo with a Shotgun is the kind of movie that is so-bad-its-good, actually good or actually really bad. The film exists in a world where it can do anything and get away with it, mainly because it is such a gleeful homage to the video-nasties of a bygone era. It's title pretty much sums up the movie, we have our titular hobo (played by Rutger Hauer) who has a shotgun. This shotgun is one he uses to clean up the streets of his town which is filled with armed robbers, corrupt cops, abused prostitute and a paedophile Santa. What we have here is a story that is not unlike your average superhero movies like. Some normal person armours up, tries to clean up the crime infesting their city by using violence, and then some baddie sends out a message saying that they want the hero's head by so-and-so time so they can give them a grisly end. That's exactly what it is. The hobo gets a shotgun. He kills all of the people that have been making his village crap. A megalomaniacal baddie and his two deranged sons try to hunt down the hobo because they don't want their town to become a place where they're not in power. Oh, and there's the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold, Abby (Molly Dunsworth), who pops up to become Hobo's sidekick. It's really just cliché upon cliché.

Hobo with a Shotgun doesn't do anything to hide its cliché filled plot. It displays its flaws all too proudly, boosting them with an over-saturated colour scheme in the camera and slightly grainy film. Even the gore is flawed...the blood doesn't give off the impression that it is real at all. Instead, it looks like either red paint or a bad mix of karo syrup and red food colouring. But it sure is vibrant, and it pops up in just about every second of the movie, reminding us of the pure cheapness that this movie is running on. That's what Hobo with a Shotgun is: it is cheap. It doesn't try to be anything that it isn't. It lets its cheap-flag fly and it wears its cheap heart on its sleeve. And that's just why I loved Hobo with a Shotgun. It doesn't mess around with subtleties. Everything it does is just so wrong. But between the wonderful Hobo, the ultra-violence and the brilliant one-liners like "Put the knife away, kid... or I'll use it to cut welfare checks from your rotten skin!", there is serious fun to be had with this film.

There is little or nothing to Hobo with a Shotgun, which is a weird thing for me to like, but I just did. There are two scenes where Hobo and Abby are given the chance to have a monologue. While I should have been getting in behind what they were saying, I was laughing from how absurd it was. It seems that absurdity, homage and maybe even a little bit of parody work well together, especially if there is Rutger Hauer taking the law into his own hands. It's stupid, but it is wildly entertaining. I can't say that it is for everyone, but if you don't like subtleties, then this is definitely the film for you.

What I got:


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