Twitter Plot Summary: The titular Hobo wants to buy a lawnmower, but he’s trapped by a crime boss and becomes a figure for justice using his trusty shotgun. Srsly.
Director: Jason Eisener
Key Cast: Rutger Hauer, Brian Downey, Gregory Smith, Molly Dunsworth.
Five Point Summary:
1. There’s violence, then there’s VIOLENCE.
2. Despite the violence, it’s terribly tongue in cheek.
3. Burning children in a bus? Bad show.
4. Splintered bone shank to the neck!
5. Brian Downey is great, but the film needs a bigger name for a villain.
This review first appeared on www.randomstoat.com on 04 February 2012.
Coming from the same stock as Machete, what was once a spoof Grindhouse trailer has been given the full length treatment, and with cult icon Rutger Hauer in the lead role no less. Hobo With A Shotgun is as Ronseal a title you can think of, as Hauer’s eponymous Hobo cleans up the crime-addled streets of Hope Town.
For me the film had additional appeal as Brian Downey, Stanley H Tweedle in the cult sci-fi series Lexx, appeared as the villain known only as The Drake. I’m sure his name is actually Thomas Drake or something and assumed “The” would make him sound cooler. And it does. Downey was always entertaining in Lexx, another cheap Canadian production (well, German-Canadian – don’t ask me how that came about), but in this he gets to play the villain with gusto and a wicked centre parting.
Hauer is suitably mental as the Hobo, who only wants to buy a lawnmower so he can start up a business. Yeah, bit daft – did he not think about just moving to another town or something? He’d have saved himself a lot of hassle, but then we wouldn’t have a film, so… I digress. Instead he befriends a girl, lots of violence ensues and, in true Grindhouse fashion, lots of silly violence follows, such as stabbing one of the villains with the shredded remains of the bones in their forearm. It appears that most of the budget was spent first on Rutger Hauer (although I’m sure he’d probably do it for a cheese sandwich and his face on the poster) and the buckets of blood that are lovingly splattered across the screen.
As modern exploitation movies ago, even with tongue firmly planted in cheek there are some quite graphic moments that are clearly intended to shock – the very first scene, after the sedate train journey opening, sees a with his head stuck in the middle of a manhole cover, being chased by The Drake and his goons. After being dumped down a manhole, his head sticking above the manhole cover and his body dangling below, he is then viciously beheaded with a barbed wire chain and a funky car.
A later scene sees Slick, twisted son of The Drake, board a school bus full of children and burn them to death, all to the tune of Disco Inferno by The Trammps. Understandably they don’t emphasise the burning too much, but there is a briefly a young child pressed against the glass screaming and covered in burns. Rest assured that Slick gets his comeuppance in the end, you could say almost poetically.
I think one of the main problems facing the Grindhouse spin-offs is that it could end up being an example of diminishing returns. Planet Terror and Deathproof both had top-notch directors at the helm with a cast and production value to match. Machete had Danny Trejo and Jeff Fahey and maintained the tongue in cheek attitude. Hobo is variable by comparison, and its relatively low budget is obvious. I would have liked to have seen more of the Hobo using the shotgun as it has a reasonably long build-up until he starts dishing out justice, but the wait is worth it.
If you enjoyed the previous full-length Grindhouse movies then you’ll probably enjoy this. For everyone else, you might want to steer clear.
Favourite scene: Rutger Hauer lamenting the state of Hope Town to a delivery room full of newly born babies. Cheesy but Hauer is spot on.
Quote: “You can’t solve all the world’s problems with a shotgun.” “It’s all I know.”
Silly Moment: Girl loses hand in lawnmower, shanks bad guy with exposed bone in forearm.