As someone who fondly remembers Rutger Hauer from his action-film heyday in the 80’s between Blade Runner and Blind Fury, I was saddened to see him reduced to a homeless old man. Furthermore I was warned that the movie was both loaded with preposterously violent content and bad writing, so I thought I was well prepared. I went in expecting to write this film off as one that you could guess your own review before you even saw it, then turn off your mind and go along for the ride.
I was wrong.
About halfway through the film, I realized that it wasn’t just the campy, schlock-horror gorefest I’d expected. The makers of Hobo With A Shotgun seem to be trying for some kind of retro, “bad” cult-movie status, like Chopping Mall or Jack Frost. Or taken to extremes in Asian films like Tokyo Gore Police or Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl. This is a different formula than Snakes on a Plane. These movies have more than just a zany concept, they embrace their own bad scripts, overacting and overuse of low-quality FX, while still managing to entertain. They transcend the standards of normal movies and somehow become “good”.
Like I said, it took me half the movie just to recalibrate my expectations. Once I understood the formula, I tried to tune out the bad parts and enjoy the movie for what it was.
It didn’t work.
Just because I understand what recipe the chef was “aiming for” doesn’t mean I like the way it tastes. There’s just too much unnecessary depravity in Hobo With A Shotgun; the kind of 13-year-old writing I’d expect to see in a Quentin Tarantino film:
- A man dressed as Santa Claus jacking off in his car while watching little kids in a playground.
- A guy who gives homeless people money if he can videotape them getting beat up and chewing glass.
- Topless girls laughing as they beat a man hung upside down like a pinata.
- Feeding a girl’s hand into a lawnmower. Slowly.
- Pimps playing poker for crying girls strung up from the ceiling like bloody cattle.
- A stripper dancing in a shower of blood that spews from the neck of a recently decapitated man.
- A school bus full of kids torched with a flamethrower.
And this list just scratches the surface of sick, depraved crimes committed in the sick, depraved town. But fear not! All of this evil is about to be avenged by…?
You guessed it. A Hobo With A Shotgun.
I can tell you that Rutger Hauer is the only believable character in this film, and his acting is very good, even when straddled with cheesy lines like this:
Hooker with a heart of gold: “You can’t solve every problem with a shotgun.”
Hobo with a shotgun: “It’s all I know.”
The rest of the characters are stereotypes: the corrupt cop, the sociopathic bad guy, the hooker with a heart of gold. The low-budget, real-world FX were a refreshing break from years of watching CG FX.
The target market for Hobo With A Shotgun is clearly 13-year old boys with anger management issues. They would LOVE this film. But they can’t (and shouldn’t) be allowed to watch it. If you are over 18 and you enjoy Rob Zombie movies and you are willing to explore the depths of human depravity, then you can probably enjoy Hobo With A Shotgun.
If there was an editor on hand to cut the bad ideas and bad dialog (easily half the movie) Hobo With A Shotgun could have been an enjoyable “Death Wish” derivative. But it seems the writers/producers were intent on trading fame for infamy.