Let’s face it. There are many movies out there that are just not meant to be taken seriously. One of the most extreme cases of this is the film based off an award winning “Grindhouse” trailer, Hobo with a Shotgun. This film is absolute trash film making, but it is self aware and revels in its debauchery with a glaring smile. If you can stomach the insanity, then this is a wild ride that hearkens back to the crazy days of exploitation film making.
Hope Town is in some serious trouble. A crime boss that goes by The Drake (Brian Downey) and his two sons, Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick (Gregory Smith), run the town with an iron and violent fist. Many people are killed everyday in the sickest ways possible, that is until a Hobo (Rutger Hauer) arrives via train and begins taking justice into his own hands with his trusty shotgun. Now the criminals are the ones filled with fear and Hope Town’s hope may be restored.
I’ve seen this movie twice now with two totally different people. The first person was laughing along with me and enjoying the mayhem and carnage that was relentlessly thrown at us. The second person sat there cringing at the geysers of gore and unflinching violence. This little experiment goes to show that you really need a certain level of tolerance to comfortably sit through Hobo with a Shotgun.
The style of this movie is in a league of its own. It’s over saturated, lit with neon, and at times simply out of this world crazy. It’s easy to get lost in the looks and I even strangely began to appreciate it as more than just a trashy film. There was obviously a cinematographer who knew exactly what he wanted and achieved it very well. I never thought I’d mention the cinematography in a movie such as Hobo with a Shotgun, but something about it just struck me as unique. The color palates are all over the place with shades you never thought would blend well together, but strangely enough they work. For example, a particular room is lit with blue, green, and orange gels. It looks weird, but appropriate.
While the characters may not be developed well, they are really cool. The Hobo is a totally kick ass character who has no qualms blowing off a pedophile’s head, with gratuitous chunks of brain matter decorating the window of the car. The Drake and his sons are whack-a-doos who sometimes act way too off the charts, but they were funny as hell and said some of the most ridiculous lines in movie history. The only character that I felt was lame was the prostitute, Abby (Molly Dunsworth). She’s a main character who I never really care about. She doesn’t really do much or really anything I care about, save for one cool thing towards the end. But that’s ok. The Plague makes up for her more than enough.
I’d also like to mention the nice use of strange camera angles and lenses to distort some of the more intense or crazy images. Give the film makers credit. Despite this being a gore fest trash reveling movie, there are artistic bits that put it a step higher than your average grind house flick.
One thing that bothered me was some of the dialogue. I know, I know. It’s cheesy for the sake of being cheesy, but some of it was just too much. Any bit of dialogue concerning bears and zoos weren’t even funny. It was almost embarrassing at how horrendous the lines were and the sincerity they were spoken in. It was just so different from the other ridiculous lines that are obviously said as a joke.
Hobo with a Shotgun isn’t just violent. It’s ultra violent. Every scene has some new twisted and sadistic image in it that will leave you wondering how they think of this stuff. It’s trashy and devoid of good intentions. Hobo with a Shotgun exists only to push the limits of what is acceptable onscreen, and how far film makers can go to make us laugh. This certainly is not for everyone and it may not be considered excellent film making, but this film is destined to be a cult classic.