Regardless of your taste in movies, that trailer is awesomely funny. Well, enough buzz grew around this trailer that they actually went ahead and made a feature-length version, only this one had a budget and Rutger Hauer, of all people, starring. This isn't the first feature film to have been made from a Grindhouse trailer --- Machete was a surprise hit --- but Hobo With a Shotgun doesn't have the star power or the long-running buzz of its kin. Is it possible that this practically straight-to-DVD affair is worth watching?
Not surprisingly, Hobo With a Shotgun is the story of a hobo (Rutger Hauer). He has been hobo-ing around the country for a good long time and has finally ridden the rails (as hobos are wont to do) to Hope Town, whose sign has been graffiti-ed to read "Scum Town." Here, the hobo hopes to save enough money to buy a lawnmower and build a new life for himself. Unfortunately, the town is ruled by the iron fist of The Drake (Brian Downey). Under his rule, normal citizens are useless cannon fodder. If you cross him, he will murder you in public as creatively as possible and get away with it. He owns the town. He owns the drug trade. He owns the police. He seems to own everything and everybody of importance in Hope Town. This is obviously a town in need of justice, but who will be the hero that steps up? And what will he use as his weapon of choice? I won't spoil the plot twist for you.
|I don't know if you can recycle those legs, but I guess a shotgun makes a convincing argument.|
The acting in Hobo With a Shotgun should probably be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the actors are acting in a movie about a hobo with a shotgun; this isn't exactly a British period piece. Is the acting good? No, but it suits the material perfectly. Rutger Hauer has a lot of fun and his talent makes watching this movie one hell of a lot easier than it could have been. He is smart enough to not over-complicate his character, and that helps keep this movie fun. I thought Brian Downey was perfect as the MWA-HA-HA evil crime boss, and I liked how ridiculously over-the-top he and his sons (played by Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman) were. I can understand some people who found them annoying, but they were the perfect foils (a businessman and frat boys) to a hobo on a vigilante mission.
|A villain designed to make you want to hit him. Perfect!|
But really, what were you expecting from the acting in this film? If you are curious about Hobo With a Shotgun, your main question should be "Is it watchable?" Any movie with a title and premise as dumb as this one should be absolutely wretched, unless it is handled just right. And I am happy to say that Hobo With a Shotgun was handled perfectly. The best description I can give you of this movie is a blend of the better Troma movies and the first Robocop. Yes, the acting is ridiculous. As for violence and gore, well...there's some.
|...and her day only gets worse.|
|Manhole covers are underused in most movies. Not here.|
Is this a movie for everyone? Definitely not. It's dumb and it's gory. It's also nearly perfect for what it is. I loved what director/creator Jason Eisener was able to do with this kernel of an idea and hope to see a bright future for him. Maybe he won't make great films, but he could definitely reboot The Toxic Avenger. I can't really judge Eisener's direction because the film is so deliberately funny-bad, but I will say that he crafted a genre masterpiece.
The filmmakers decided to hold a fake movie trailer contest to celebrate the way their film got made. Here's the winner: