HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Rutger Hauer plays an unnamed Hobo who rolls into town on a train. Soon, he runs across a group of criminals who reign over the city with rape, murder and terror as their weapons. Soon fed up with the carnage, the Hobo seeks revenge against the family in charge. With the help of a hooker with a heart of gold, the Hobo starts to dispense his own form of street justice until they are in an all-out war.
WHAT I LIKED
“Hobo with a Shotgun” is another installment in the string of modern grindhouse films made popular by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s double-bill major motion picture. Like all of these grindhouse films, “Hobo with a Shotgun” is loaded with over-the-top violence and crazy homages to exploitation cinema from the 70s. What’s cool about it is that it is probably one of the most honest and accurate nods the genre.
Along with “Planet Terror” and “Drive Angry,” “Hobo with a Shotgun” is one of the most enjoyable grindhouse flicks to come down the pike. It’s not to be taken seriously, and the first brutal scene makes that very clear. It’s a joke on itself and meant to be fun in a gut-churning sort of way. Unlike “Death Proof” and “Machete,” it’s not really trying to teach a message or be artistic. It’s just being exploitative… which was the original point.
“Hobo with a Shotgun” is an exercise in excess, and it’s fun. It’s also cool to see Rutger Hauer getting his feet wet in the movies again. I have been a fan of his since “Blade Runner” and “Ladyhawke.” He still kicks a whole lot of ass in movies.
This film isn’t for the weak of stomach or the tenderhearted. But if you think you can enjoy its silly, explosive and splatter nature, it’s a nice dose of fun. And all the 16mm film look and cheesy music cues make it even more fun.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKEThe biggest problem with grindhouse movies is they aren’t really grindhouse movies. They have significantly higher budgets, and they rely on the nostalgia factor to sell themselves. In this sense, they change what grindhouse cinema used to be, though I’m okay with updating the genre a bit.
However, they tend to run a bit long, and “Hobo with a Shotgun” does this, even with its scant 86-minute running time. Many older grindhouse pieces ran 70 minutes or so, and that’s a good length for a crazy-ass film at a breakneck pace.
The movie tries to make a point about crime at times, though it’s not nearly as heavy-handed as “Machete” was. And Molly Dunsworth, who plays the hooker with a heart of gold, while fetching, doesn’t show us anything that makes her a hooker. I mean… where are the boobs, after all? It is a grindhouse piece, right?
The double-disc DVD is packed with special features, making it a great set to pick up for plenty of viewing opportunities beyond the running time of the actual film.
Disc 1 includes behind-the-scenes interactive bits embedded in the film with “Shotgun Mode.” There’s also two audio commentaries with the feature.
Disc 2 includes a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, video blogs, a camera test reel, Fangoria interviews with the director and star, plus some HDNet supplementals focusing on the Grindhouse Trailer Contest that inspired the film.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like violent films taken to an excess.