On DVD: Hobo with a Shotgun

Pulp flicks can sometimes get a bit too ahead of themselves. Sometimes all you need is a hobo, a shotgun and a twisted sense of justice.

Rutger Hauer stars in “Hobo with a Shotgun,” the second film after “Machete” to be derived from a fake trailer created for the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double-feature “Grindhouse.” Although the Hobo and that dangerous Mexican share revenge from the same cold plate, Jason Eisener does decidedly more with decidedly less.

Beneath the bulky jacket and hobo stench lies something somehow untainted. When most exploitation flicks get down to the dramatic side — if they ever get that far — usually flop. Most viewers would prefer the Hobo waste no time getting to that shotgun, but Hauer hints at a depth to that vigilante justice. No matter how hypocritical he might actually be, he’s darn convincing and dare I say poignant.

The film takes place in what was once called Hope Town but has since become “F*** Town.” The streets are full of bums, druggies, prostitutes and corruption of all kinds. The Hobo hops off the train to find the town in this state and cannot sit idly by. After trying to intervene with the mistreatment of a whore (Molly Dunsworth), the Hobo learns the hard way that a mob boss named “The Drake” (Brian Downey) runs things in this town with his two dopey and perverted sons.

Credit to Eisener and co-writers John Davies and Rob Cotterill for taking their time building the proper motivation, which feels odd to say as screen writing almost never warrants praise in a film of this kind. Yet when our Hobo must choose between purchasing a lawn mower to start his landscaping business or pulling that shotgun off the shelf to help “clean” the streets, the decision makes sense — kill or be killed. The Hobo metes justice “one shell at a time” and to the delight of gore fans everywhere.

The blood flows here as sure as the one-liners do, which makes “Hobo” a true child of the neo-grindhouse movement. Most admirably, the gore goes unexpected places; our heroes, for example, see their fair share of personal injury and beyond the extent to which most protagonists must stare down fate. Plus, despite the mercilessly foul lines delivered prior to most executions, there’s actually some strangely thoughtful dialogue, such as the Hobo’s little monologue to the newborns in the maternity ward of the local hospital. It’s funny, but it’s also kind of got a point — even hobos were innocent little babies once.

“Hobo with a Shotgun” adds just enough bite to its bark, whereas most of its brothers and sisters simply make noise. Somehow Eisener manages to weave all the cliché exploitation elements into something all too easy to enjoy.

4/5 Stars

Hobo with a Shotgun
Directed by Jason Eisener
Written by Jason Eisener, John Davies and Rob Cotterill
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworthy, Brian Downey

1 Comment

  1. Nostra says:

    Still have not seen that and although this isn’t my genre I just have to see it for my fellow dutchman Rutger Hauer. Great review!

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