Friday, May 13, 2011

Hobo with a Shotgun

Welcome back Sporefans. Today we’ve got a very, very special review. It’s just this little movie I saw recently about a hobo... with a shotgun. In fact, the movie is called Hobo with a Shotgun.

Starring Rutger Hauer.

Did I mention that this movie is awesome?

Normally I post a trailer for a movie at the end of the review, but the trailer for this movie is so amazing that I’m posting it right here at the beginning. Watch it.




If you watched that trailer and you aren’t psyched to see this movie, go see a doctor. You are clearly dead. In fact, I would wager that if you read this blog and you’re not ready to go out and see Hobo with a Shotgun by now, then you have already been killed. By a hobo. With a shotgun.

But... if you insist on some more convincing, read on.

The first thing I should point out is that this movie shares something really important with the film Snakes on a Plane in that it explains the entire premise in it’s title. Rutger Hauer plays a hobo who rides into a town full of crime in the belly of a boxcar. The local crime boss, Drake, (played by Brian Downey, aka Stanley Tweedle on Lexx) has the entire town under his thumb in a grip of fear.

The fear grip, by the way... very hard to do. It takes a strong thumb to pull off. If you’re not experienced you could break your own hand. Off. Completely. Like snapped... Oh! The movie. Right.

The hobo disapproves of my non-sequitor.

The plot of this movie is pretty simple. In fact, if you’ve ever seen one episode of Fist of the North Star, you already know how the hobo is gonna roll. Just replace Kenshiro with a hobo, and random thugs exploding from being punched in the face with random thugs being exploded by a shotgun (warning: both previous links are really, really, REALLY not safe for work) and you’ve got the whole thing figured out.

Like Snakes on a Plane, Hobo with a Shotgun is what I’d like to call a title-premise movie; in that the entire premise of the film is summed up in the title. People’s biggest complaint with Snakes on a Plane was that they were really just waiting through the whole movie to watch Sam Jackson deliver one line, and that the rest of the movie consisted of a bunch of snakes.

What sets Hobo with a Shotgun apart from other title-premise movies is that at no point do you feel like you’re just waiting for the movie to get good. Hobo with a Shotgun delivers throughout the entire movie; although not as seriously as the trailer makes it out to be. Hobo with a Shotgun has just the right mix of action and campiness and feels like your watching a really good (and strangely well written) Troma film with a slightly larger than average budget. Hobo with a Shotgun delivers some camp, but it never gets in the way of the action; it blends seamlessly into it in a perfect mix of comedy and gore.

See? The perfect mix of comedy and gore summed up in one picture. Don't flinch.

So it’s pretty much the opposite of Drag Me to Hell. But that’s a tale of disappointment for another time.

The best example I can give of the interaction between camp and gore in this movie is when Drake is mentoring his son Slick (played by Gregory Smith) on how to rule through fear. He tells Slick that he doesn’t fear him, that he expected better out of the son who will one day take over his reign of terror, and that Slick needs to go out and do something to prove that he can scare the crap out of people. So Slick and his brother Ivan (played by Nick Bateman) go out and do one of the most awful and yet funny things I’ve seen a villain do in a movie... ever.

Random thug number 216 wonders if his ski mask is bullet proof.

I'll spoil it for you: No. No, it's not.

Slick and Ivan board a school bus sporting a flamethrower and pair of boom boxes. (For those of you too young to know this, a boom box is a cheap portable stereo with a tape deck in the middle of it, and I feel old for having to explain that.) The boom boxes are playing Disco Inferno by The Trammps while Slick asks the kids a bunch of questions like, “Do you like cookies?” The kids, being in a movie and thereby unable to realize that they are seconds away from being made into toasty child pastries all yell:


Then Slick asks them if they like hobos, and the kids predictably all scream “YEAAH!!!” So he torches them with the flamethrower just as the song hits it’s refrain with “Burn, baby, burn!”

After burning a bus full of school children alive, Slick tells the parents of the town that if they don’t hunt the hobo down that he’ll kill all of the rest of their children. The town turns against the hobo and presents him with an additional difficulty; while he’s being hunted by a bloodthirsty mob, none of the people in the mob are really bad, so the hobo really doesn’t want to shoot them.

While the villains in this movie are excellent, Rutger Hauer stands out as the real star of Hobo with a Shotgun. His character has a subtle depth which lends him a very touching human quality. There are several scenes that start with the hobo alone, cradling his shotgun and pondering the morality of horrors that he has unleashed upon the town.

The hobo contemplates violence. So... much... violence. Why, God? Why?

The scene where the hobo obtains the shotgun is arguably the best scene in the movie. Before he gets the shotgun he tries to stop the criminals by turning them over to local law enforcement, which is predictably corrupt; and attempts to dissuade the local thugs through several more non-lethal means such as a sock full of loose change.

However, fate intervenes with the hobo’s plans and he is forced to make a choice between his future happiness and the life of two innocent bystanders. The hobo spends most of the first half of the movie trying to obtain $49.99 for a used lawnmower. Why? Because he wants to start his own business cutting lawns. Why else would a hobo want a lawnmower?

What? No! That’s sick. Just stop. Seriously. People don’t do that with lawnmowers. No, it doesn’t matter how much tequila they drank... Oh. Tila Tequila. Well, that might be a different story.

Anyway, when the hobo goes to the pawn shop to purchase the used lawn mower, who should walk in but three random thugs in ski masks? (I told you that this was Fist of the North Star with shotguns.) While the hobo stares longingly at his prize the thugs threaten to shoot a young mother and her infant child with a very, very large handgun.

And then, the hobo notices a shotgun hanging from the display rack right next to the lawnmower. The price tag dangles in front of his face: $49.99. He reaches up, takes the shotgun and then... a lot of people die really, really badly.

Now, if you’re the type of person who asks, “Why was the display shotgun loaded with bullets?” and complains, “That makes no sense, it’s dangerous to leave a loaded shotgun in a pawn shop,” then there’s something I need you to do.

Stop reading this review.

Shut down your computer.

If you have to ask that question then you have clearly missed the point of the entire movie, and that point is:

Hobo + Shotgun = Violence.


And really, that’s all you need to know. If you’re not down with Hobo-shotgun interactions, then you shouldn’t be watching this movie. More fun trivia, did you know that Hobo with a Shotgun was one of the fake movie trailers on Grindhouse? I’m putting money on SyFy optioning Werewolf Women of the SS... just without any of the nudity. Failing that, they’ll probably just make something that looks exactly like it and release it at the exact same time that the real film comes out... but who would be foolish enough to mix up the two?

In any event, the following is the UNRATED version of the trailer for Hobo with a Shotgun, so be warned that it does contain lots of gore, and you should probably not be watching this at work. But what you do with it is up to you.

Until next time, stay away from hobos with shotguns. It’s just generally a good idea.