Movie Review: Hobo with a Shotgun

Ah, finally someone has made a heartfelt, poignant movie that addresses America’s growing concern with homelessness, while at the same time tackling the controversial issue of the 2nd Amendment.

Oh…  wait…  this must be the other Hobo with a Shotgun…  Not the Hobo with a Shotgun directed by Terrence Malick.  This is the one where it’s just 86 minutes of sleazy insanity.

I was able to check this movie out tonight, and I must say, it was gleefully wild.  It takes place in alternative sort of early 1980s universe, where mohawked punks in leather jackets rule the streets and everyone’s body is filled with gallons of karo syrup.  Then one day, a hobo just couldn’t take it anymore, acquires a shotgun, and becomes a hero.

Hobo with a Shotgun is mainly a tribute to 70s/80s kind of grindhouse films (it’s based off a trailer that won a contest promoting 2007’s Grindhouse), but to me felt more on par with a really good direct-to-video Troma release.  I read Lloyd Kaufman’s (the founder of Troma Films)  book several years ago, Make Your Own Damn Movie, and there is a whole section on how to fill a watermelon up with karo syrup and make a crappy looking head explosion.  Whoever made Hobo with a Shotgun probably read that book.  Or invented his own head exploding technology, as there was plenty of high velocity blood spray in this film.

But while it had the maturity of a Troma movie, it also had the neon color scheme of The Warriors, the sometimes brilliant oddball nature of Emilio Estevez’s Repo Man, and the over-the-top characters of a Snake Plissken movie.  Then they over-saturated the hell out of every color in the whole thing.

Hobo with a Shotgun obviously applies to a niche market.  You know what you’re getting into when you watch it, and you shouldn’t expect any more or any less.  I think if you were someone who would get excited by Hobo with a Shotgun, the title alone would make you want to see it.  I thought it delivered in the blood/severed limbs/hilarious dialogue departments, maybe could have used a little more gratuitous nudity (there was only some), but overall Hobo with a Shotgun was…  well…  Hobo with a Shotgun.

Oh yeah, and Rutger Hauer is a badass.

In terms of where it fits in with the recent exploitation renaissance, I’d say it’s much better than last year’s Machete, but not quite as faithful to the era as 2009’s House of the Devil.    But it was more fun and chaotic than both of those put together.  This may be some sort of mind-blowing experience to someone who doesn’t watch a lot of these types of movies, but as someone who has seen a lot of C-level Troma horror movies in his day, I just thought it fit in well with the rest of the genre.

But it did feature the best newspaper headline I’ve seen since maybe a classic Simpsons episode or a vintage Onion article:

“HOBO STOPS BEGGING, DEMANDS CHANGE”.

8 out of 10



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