September 4, 2011


The Rutger Hauer starring Hobo With A Shotgun is, frankly, not something I ever expected to see in a cinema. Jason Eisener's feature length adaptation of his own winning Grindhouse trailer is the type of film you expect to find in a grimy, somewhat dodgy and dark video rental store. It's brutal, insane, graphic and lurid. And I kinda loved it. 

Hauer is the eponymous hobo, riding into town on a rail-car. Little can he suspect though that he is entering Hell itself. Or at least, as close as these crime ridden streets can make it. The Hobo is a man with a simple wish: to own a lawnmower. It's a strange, simple dream but it's his. However, he has to survive the villainous crimelord Drake that rules the streets and his two douchebag evil sons; Slick and Ivan. He takes Abby, a young streetwalking woman he sees as something better, under his crazy wing and ends up unleashing swift, shotgun based vengeance upon the streets. 

Hobo With a Shotgun is a film that really doesn't hold anything back. Eisener goes all out here, throwing dark crazy paint on his celluloid with abandon and lashing in heinously bright colours that sicken and obfuscate. You've got to respect someone who's willing to take it that far. And Hauer is right there with him, amping up the crazy and chewing scenery like a starving, well, hobo. He's the only recognisable actor in the piece and he attacks the role with gusto: there's madness, sadness and a boiling anger all locked up in this man and his shotgun is his release. 

And Hauer's not even the maddest thing in the film! The two asshole gangster sons are irredeemable sacks of weaselly bastard evil, the pair of them looking like bad-guy jock characters from a Revenge of the Nerds film. Drake's favoured method of execution involves a rope, a truck and a manhole cover with a hole in it just big enough for a neck. Then there's The Plague: two demon escapees from the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max, they bring Hobo into a whole new realm of over-the-edge weirdness.

Even though Hobo With a Shotgun is a film that feels like you should be discovering in early adolescence on a worn VHS tape, I'm glad I got the chance to see it in the cinema. So, too, did a little old lady sitting a few rows behind me - I wouldn't have thought she was the target audience? Perhaps she was a Hauer fan. Or, perhaps, she just really, really wanted to see an over-the-top crazy hobo with a shotgun. I know I did. And it was a blast.

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