Hobo With A Shotgun
Director: Jason Eisener
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Pasha Ebrahimi, Robb Wells
Review by Brian M. Sammons
There is a scene at about the halfway mark of this movie where a school bus full of kids gets burned alive with a flamethrower. This heinous act isn’t done for dramatic purposes, but for laughs and blatant shock value. The scene comes complete with a boom box playing “Disco Inferno” and a little girl, all charred and bubbling flesh, scratching at the bus’ back door, desperate to escape. Now I begin this review with this for the simple fact that if this all too brief description turns you off of this film, then don’t bother reading any further. This movie is full of stuff like this and therefore, it is not for you.
I’m not going to debate the morals of having such a thing in a movie. If I wanted to do that, I would go for the gold and do a review of A Serbian Film. No, censorship in any form is abhorrent to me and I’m one of those weird people that believe if you don’t like something, then don’t watch, listen, or read it. So with that in mind, why waste your time if the thought of tykes turning into torches for laughs is repellent to you? Trust me, skip this movie and you’ll be much happier for it.
Still here? Well then, you sick puppies, let’s get to it.
In an attempt to try to explain things, I’ll start at the beginning that this film began as a joke. No really, it did. Remember the Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino double feature Grindhouse that had its own fake, silly trailers. Well in order to promote that film, they had a contest for people to make their own fake trailers for movies that would be very comfortable in a ’70s grindhouse. Well that idea not only gave birth to Hobo, but it became a bit of an internet meme. So looking to cash in on internet buzz, someone threw money at creators and the result was this film. So yeah, this was the second fake movie related to Grindhouse, with Machete being the first. Now only if Eli Roth’s awesome looking Thanksgiving someday comes out … but alas, back to Hobo.
Rutger Hauer plays the titular hobo who comes to a caricature of the typical sleazy, corrupt, crime ridden city that you only find in bad movies, and it’s great. Everything is done so over the top, from the setting, to the characters, to the Grand Guignol amounts of blood and violence. The entire movie is an experiment in excess, but I guess I’m getting ahead of myself, so back to the story.
The hobo comes to town and only wants to save up enough money to buy a lawnmower so he can get a respectable job and rejoin society. However, with his brief interactions with society, he becomes more and more sickened with what he sees. The usual drugs, prostitution, victimization, and violence you may expect on the mean streets are all amplified to a factor of 9000 because a scummy crime lord named The Drake runs the entire city with his two carnage loving clowns of sons. This terrible trio is more than fine with ripping the head off of someone in broad daylight, forcing everyone to look, and then having a chick dance in the fountain of blood from the stump of a neck. Anyway, when the police offer no help, and in fact beat the living hell out of the hobo for daring to bring a murder to their attention, it is left up to the hobo to get his shotgun and take matters into his own, grimy hands.
Along the way in this weird, weird, excessively violent (and did I mention weird?) movie, the hobo finds love with a hooker, the prerequisite heart of gold, kills a pedophiliac Santa Clause, eats some glass, kills rape-loving cops, gets chased by an angry mob, fights against a pair of demonic cyborgs of the apocalypse who, in turn, fight giant squids in their free time (when not appearing in their own video game), and it goes on and on like this. If you want to see a film, that while you’re watching it, you wonder, “am I high or something?” then this is for you. If being rude, crude, weird, violent, and offensive was an art form, Hobo With A Shotgun would be hanging in the Louvre.
And like a work of art, Magnet spared no expense nor cut any corners with this new Blu-ray release. Besides looking far better than any ’70s exploitation wannabe flick should, this has a nice collection of bonus materials. There’s a pretty funny commentary track with director Eisener and star Hauer. Not to be outdone, Eisener returns for a second commentary, this one with the writer, the producer, and the actor who played the original hobo in the grindhouse trailer. A bunch of behind the scenes clips have been assembled, but they’re not connected in anyway and are sort of just a hodgepodge. You can watch those same clips as pop-ups in the movie as it runs in a feature called “shotgun mode,” and that is perhaps the best way to view them. If that wasn’t enough, there is a making of featurette that runs about 45 minutes. There are deleted scenes, video blogs shot while making the movie, camera test footage, interviews with Hauer and Eisener for Fangoria Magazine that also runs about 45 minutes, a HDNet special look on the film, and alternate ending, the original grindhouse trailer that started all the madness, and then as a total snake eating it’s tail moment, Hobo With A Shotgun did their own fake grindhouse trailer and that short is on here too.
Whew, that’s a lot of extras for just one little movie that started off as a joke. Whether or not you like this film, it is undeniable that this is one first class Blu-ray release.
Once more, this film it isn’t for everyone and it very well might not be for you. However I did enjoy it in a deep down, sick sort of way. Also, I’ve always got to give at least a partial nod of approval to films that actually try to do new things, and Hobo With The Shotgun does indeed do that. If you can laugh at terrible things, give it a shot.