Modern Grindhouse Classics : “Hobo With A Shotgun”

Posted: May 29, 2011 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Oh, hell yes — now we’re talking!

Director Jason Eisener (screenplay by John Davies from a story by Eisener)’s new independent feature Hobo With A Shotgun is the second full-length feature to be extrapolated from the “fake trailers” that accompanied Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse double feature from a couple years back, and sometimes you just gotta kick back and enjoy the sheer tasteless spectacle of it all.

And tasteless is the key word here, folks. Hobo With A Shotgun is pure over-the-top cinematic mayhem that makes up for with heart what is absolutely, gloriously lacks in conscience. It’s a balls-to-the-wall splatterfest revenge flick of positively epic proportions that revels (as well it should) in its sheer, uncompromising lack of anything even remotely resembling good taste. If you’re feeling tired, this is one movie that will wake you the fuck up, and fast.

Me? I was hooked from the word go, obviously. Rutger Hauer (in a role he was positively born to play, talk about perfect casting) is an unnamed hobo who rides the rails into Hope City (more commonly referred to as “Scum City” and “Fuck City” by its residents), and quickly falls afoul of the local crime boss, a dementedly vile and sadistic little urchin who goes by the name of The Drake and who, along with his equally fucked-in-the-head sons Slick and Ivan, and the crooked cops they control, when he exhibits something remotely resembling an average human conscience. The Hobo (that’s all we ever know him as) has ever reason in the world to want to pursue revenge on the Drake clan after they fuck him up in a most undignified manner, but rather than satisfy his bloodlust, he just wants to save up 50 bucks to buy a lawnmower and get in the yard-care business.

It’s just a pipe dream, though, as The Hobo learns when he goes into a pawn shop to finally procure his lawnmower, only to have his shopping experience rudely interrupted by a couple of junkies pursuing a violent hold-up so they can get money to buy more of the drugs that The Drake has hooked them on. When the hoodlums threaten to shoot a baby in the store, The Hobo decides he’s had enough, grabs an old pump-action shotgun off the pawn shop wall, and starts blasting! Soon (after paying for his shotgun and shells, naturally) it’s all-out war as The Hobo, together with his teen-prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold sidekick, Abby, starts taking the city back one shotgun shell at a time. nobody’s safe — pimps, pushers, hold-up artists, and in one particularly memorable sequence even a child molester in a Santa suit, all fall victim to The Hobo’s special brand of retributive justice — with interest.

Needless to say, the actions of this ultra-violent one-man clean-up crew don’t exactly sit well with The Drake and his boys, and that’s when out intrepid Hobo’s troubles really begin —

I don’t know how else to say it, people, but if you only see one movie this year, it should be Hobo With A Shotgun. While it doesn’t have the social conscience of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, the first “real” movie to be based on a “fake” Grindhouse trailer, and certainly lacks its all-star cast (Hauer is, I guarantee, the only person in this flick you’ve ever heard of), it’s every bit as heartfelt and earnest an homage to the golden years of exploitation cinema, and maybe even more fun, precisely because it’s completely unburdened from trying to make anything like a relevant point whatsoever. Hobo With A Shotgun is here to party, and if you’ve got any sense whatsoever, you’ll join right in.

Lensed in the beautiful Halifax/Dartmouth area of Nova Scotia (a truly picturesque locale that I was fortunate enough to spend a few months in a handful of years ago and that takes a hell of a lot of work to look this shitty, believe you me — hats off to the production design team for their exemplary work here), Hobo With A Shotgun is a monumental achievement (no kidding) in the annals of Canadian independent cinema and deserves a wider audience than it’s probably going to get in limited release (Minneapolis residents take note — it opens at the Lagoon in a couple of weeks here, and we’re lucky, since it’s not getting much theatrical play beyond the two coasts) and on satellite and cable on-demand services (which is where I caught it since I couldn’t wait for it to hit town), and I can only hope that it’s eventual DVD and Blu-ray release will see this massive body-count revenge spectacular find a legion of appreciative fans. I’m proud to say that I was among the first in line. This is the real deal, folks, and if you’ve got the stomach for it, you’re sure to walk away from it wearing the most devious, shit-eating , flat-out unhinged grin you’ve had on your face in waaaaaayyyyy too long. Your friends and neighbors will question your sanity, sure, but they don’t matter and you don’t need them. You’ve got Hobo With A Shotgun. All is right with the world.

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