Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
Directed by Jason Eisener
"Delivering justice, one shell at a time..."
Don't fuck with the homeless.
That's the lesson I learned after watching Hobo with a Shotgun, the infamous grindhouse trailer turned full frontal feature from director Jason Eisener. If this was the 3rd film in a triple feature with Planet Terror and Death Proof, I'd have to say it was the best of the three by far.
Hobo with a Shotgun punched me in the face with it's witty humor, clever cleverisms and pure blood drenched awesomeness. It's a time travel throwback to 80s Troma mixed in with Street Trash and would be a banned video nasty if this were 1985. Each scene is like a mini trailer in itself, which you could cut up and edit and make 10 more trailers out of the film.
But even though it's hilariously ridiculous and you start scratching your head with one WTF after the other, it still never loses it's power to make you laugh, make you scream and make you applaud like a pimp at a whore convention.
Hobo with a Shotgun hits harder than a cop during a riot. You're not going to get a better throwback grindhouse movie this year. And for the first time in a long time, I'm giving it the highest rating the jaded viewer can bestow.
A train pulls into the station - it's the end of the line. A Hobo jumps from a freight car, hoping for a fresh start in a new city. Instead, he finds himself trapped in an urban hell. This is a world where criminals rule the streets and Drake, the city's crime boss, reigns supreme alongside his sadistic murderous sons, Slick & Ivan.
Amidst the chaos, the Hobo comes across a pawn shop window displaying a second hand lawn mower. He dreams of making the city a beautiful place and starting a new life for himself. But as the brutality continues to rage around him, he notices a shotgun hanging above the lawn mower... Quickly, he realizes the only way to make a difference in this town is with that gun in his hand and two shells in its chamber.
There's not an overcomplicated story here. The movie is exactly what the title says. It's about a hobo with a shotgun. But our hobo (Rutger Hauer) arrives in Scum Town (renamed Fuck town by the locals) and immediately realizes this is one fucked up town. The town is run by Drake (Brian Downey), a clean cut evil crime boss who with his two sons Slick and Ivan (who are preppie douchebag killers) are willing to display their cruel and unusual punishment to keep the locals in line.
Did I mention the film takes place circa sometime in the 80s?
That's the first thing that makes you go WTF. Our hobo wanders the streets and we see what he sees. Boom boxes, video cassette video cameras, arcade machines and 80s jazzy clothing that makes you think we're in some Beastie Boys video. And it wouldn't be the 80s without some fuckin coke right? Cocaine is like Krispy Kreme donuts. Everybody is addicted! The town is full of low life pimps, bumfight entrepreneurs and Santa child predators. It's a fuckin shitty place.
Soon he meets a hot prostitute Abby and saves her from the clutches of our asshole preps. Abby and our hobo seemed to be both misfits in a town full of crazies but they start to form a bond. When you think HWAS would start to slow down during these non gore soaked moments, it doesn't. The conversation between our Hobo and our whore are hilarious. From talking about bears, an alternate job for Abby and to our Hobo's dream of buying a lawnmower!?!? so he can start his own business, the ridiculous and over the top conversation is as equally if not more awesome than the succeeding gore and splatter that embody a homeless man exacting vengeance with a shotgun.
Which brings us to the grindhouse and exploitation masterpiece that's been constructed by Eisener. It has a look and feel of a grindhouse films from the opening titles (Filmed in Technicolor!) to the shades of green and red tints that resemble your vintage graininess. But red is the color that dominates Hobo with a Shotgun and we get buckets of it. Your Gore-ipedia includes ripped off heads, shotgun trauma, blood splatter windows, hand splatter, neck gore and some sick slice and dice.
Once we get to the mid camp ending, all hell has broken loose. After some close calls in a battle between Slick and Ivan versus Hobo and Abby Drake brings in the big guns called "The Plague" to take down our Hobo who's been cleaning the gutter trash criminals off the street. These 2 heavily armored metal rejects slaughter a hospital staff before we get a Mad Max finale complete with a Mexican standoff.
Rutger Hauer is nearly flawless as our 100% hobo vigilante. It's like he copied the persona of one of the bumfight participants and as he yammers in his peculiar conversations you get 100% hooked. He's an old cranky man who knows shit and Hauer makes it believable. Downey as Drake plays it pretty over the top and our two preppie douchebags (Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman) give performances like they were mutated evil from a John Hughes film. Molly Dunsworth as Abby evolves from down and out hooker to an ever dedicated sidekick and does a great job looking hot and kicking ass.
Everything from Hobo with a Shotgun is viciously fucked up. It lives up to it's title because it's initial premise evolves into a full frontal assault of pure tastelessness. From vulgarities revolving orifices to maddening threats of torture, it's going to be obscene just to be obscene. Damn how I love that. I love the fact it never wavers, never says let's be a little PG-13 here or be a little tame in this scene. Nope. It goes all out to make you feel like you've been exploited for having seen this. Your going to laugh at seeing somebody get the shit beaten out of em and your not going to feel guilty at all.
Neo grindhouse has been on the up and up with remakes of 70s cult classics being assembly line made. It's refreshing to see a homegrown (in this case Canada) being made. Hobo with a Shotgun is old and new. If this was made in the 80s, it would SO be remade by now. It's because of all this that I proudly give Hobo with a Shotgun the rare 4 spinkicks.
Now give that homeless man on the street corner some spare change or you might get a hole in your chest.
We get some titties
The Plague battle an octopus?!?
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
I was able to see this gem during a screening courtesy of Magnet Releasing. Hobo with a Shotgun comes out on April 1st on Demand and May 6th in theaters. Here are some interesting fun facts:
- Original grindhouse trailer was made for $150 and won the SXSW Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse trailer competition
- The Director of Photagraphy is Karim Hussain who made the cult classic Subconscious Cruelty
- Producer Rob Cotterhill (with Eisener) made the short Treevenge
- Only a few scenes from the original fake trailer made it to the feature
Check out the trailer.
Here's the original fake trailer