Monday, 15 August 2011


Film: Hobo with a shotgun
UK Release date: Out Now
Year: 2011
Certificate: 18
Director: Jason Eisener
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Pasha Ebrahimi, Robb Wells, Brian Downey
Running time: 82 mins
Genre: Action
Reviewer: Adam Wing

“You can’t solve all the worlds problems with a shotgun.” Whether or not that be true, one thing’s for sure, this particular hobo is going to die trying - delivering justice one shell at a time.

Rutger Hauer has long been deserving of a comeback, and a homeless vigilante with vengeance on mind could be just the ticket - we’ll call him Hobo for now. Hobo has a dream, to set up his own gardening business, ridding the world of unwanted landscape. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side though, and there’s a good chance he’s just pushed his cart into the wrong city, where crime prevails and an overlord reigns with violent and bloody malice.

It’s a neon-filtered world - Mad Max with glitter balls - filled to the brim with armed robbers, corrupt cops and abused prostitutes. Hobo abandons his plans and turns vigilante, in order to deliver justice the only way he knows how - with a 20-gauge shotgun of course. Mayhem ensues as he tries to clean up the streets and make the city a better place for future generations. With the city's evil crime boss Drake (Brian Downey) standing in his way, will the Hobo's own brand of street justice prevail? In a city besieged by gore, bloodshed, hookers and profanity, everybody’s favourite Hobo may have finally met his match.

Hobo with a Shotgun will never be mistaken for high art, but Jason Eisener’s energetic offering certainly gives Sushi Typhoon a run for its money. A Canadian splatter-fest influenced by the films coming out of Japan, Hobo started life as a fake trailer made to promote the release of Tarantino and Rodriguez’ double feature Grindhouse. It’s the second Grindhouse trailer to be made into a film, but unlike Danny Trejo’s Machete, Hobo with a Shotgun goes the distance with a relentless pouring of bloodshed, brutality and twisted humour.

Subtlety has no place on the crime-littered streets of Hope Town, and over-the-top performances are waiting at every turn. Brian Downey’s Blake is probably the worst offender; chewing up the screen at every opportunity, but his on-screen sons are on hand to ensure that it stays in the family. Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick (Gregory Smith) aren’t the sharpest tools in the box, but they certainly know their way around a crime scene. They set out for revenge on Hobo when he comes to the aid of Abby (Molly Dunsworth), a kind hearted prostitute who has a run in with Slick.

Abby has found herself a new dream, not to mention a new business partner, and she can’t wait to tell her old clients that her legs are closed for business. Hobo heads off to the pawnshop to purchase a lawnmower, but three robbers pick the wrong time and place to make a stand and before you know it, Hobo has a difficult decision to make. Will it be the long sought-after lawnmower or a $49.99 shotgun? One killing spree, dozens of criminals and a paedophile Santa later and the answer is clear, Hobo with a Shotgun is taking out the trash the only way he knows how.

Considering the tactlessness of Hobo, Hauer brings warmth, compassion and humanity to a role that really wasn’t asking for any. Whether it be his grizzly warning to the babies in a hospital ward, or the early scenes in which his dreams of buying a lawnmower come to light, Rutger adds unexpected depth to a one-dimensional role that fast becomes his best performance in years. Eisener keeps the film moving at a relentless pace, upping the ante at every turn. Wait ’til you get a load of the armoured hit-men sent out to destroy Hobo, they call themselves The Plague but they’d look more at home in an early episode of Doctor Who. It’s deliriously deranged from start to finish, a guilty pleasure of the highest order, and I only hope that he continues to make films of this quality.

With its 80’s vibe and glamorised violence, there’s no mistaking Hauer’s resurrection for an award-winning masterpiece - even if his performance digs far deeper than you might anticipate. Eisener’s love of trashy, cult cinema flows from every frame, and I’ll be curious to see what he does next. Lets hope he doesn’t tone it down too much, or turn in a string of sequels starring Christopher Lambert and Adrian Paul.

Hobo with a Shotgun takes a lone idea and runs wild with it, leaving a trail of death, destruction and headless corpses in its wake. “When life gives you razor blades… you make a baseball bat covered in razor blades.” That’s Hobo with a Shotgun to a tee - loud, proud and well endowed, delivering anarchic entertainment one frame at a time.

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