Friday, May 20, 2011

Hobo With A Shotgun - Digital Download Review


Theatrical Release Date: May 6, 2011

All I knew about this movie before renting it was that Rutger Hauer plays a Hobo that wonders into a town overrun with crime and decides to put a stop to it all using his trusty shotgun and that is exactly what I got. Hobo with a Shotgun is one of the very few films out there that delivers on all its promises and regardless of how minuscule those promises might have been I can't help but love it for sticking to its guns.

Review Vital Stats:
Service: Xbox Zune Marketplace
Download Type: Rental
Picture Quality: HD

Loves: Revenge movies
Likes: Rutger Hauer, Exploitation homages
Neutral: A lack of any significant story in my revenge flicks
Hates: The over saturated look of the movie at times
Forever: Since I've seen Rutger Hauer in a starring role

I am going to claim absolute ignorance to however this film came about. I could always surmise that it was that age old system of people that know people (Rutger Hauer worked on Sin City with Robert Rodriquez, Robert Rodriguez worked on Grindhouse with Hobo with a Shotgun director Jason Eisner, Jason Eisner meets or is introduced to Rutger Hauer via Robert Rodriguez) but honestly who knows and who cares. The fact remains that they came together somehow and made what I now consider to be one of the better throwback style exploitation movies of the current crop. This vengeful Hobo is ready and primed to spill some guts and blast some heads for you but make no mistake about it, the blood and gore is just about all you are going to take away from the experience when it is all over and done with.

Hobo (Rutger Hauer) is just your average homeless guy traveling the railways from town to town looking for some honest work to get himself off the streets. He dreams of starting his own business mowing lawns once he has saved up enough money to buy himself that lawnmower sitting right there in the front window of the local pawn shop. But those dreams will have to wait because this new town he has wondered into, Scum Town, isn't the friendliest of places. As a matter of fact, the first thing that he witnesses is a family of thugs comprised of a man called The Drake (Brian Downey) and his two sunglasses wearing sons Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) rip a man's head off that was sticking out of a manhole cover in the ground with a truck and barbed wire while the whole neighborhood watches. To say things in the town of Scum aren't looking too bright is a bit of an understatement and with nobody willing to fight it is up to one man to deliver justice and stop the insanity one shell at a time using his trusty shotgun.

All he ever wanted was to mow lawns...

There really is no story to speak of here. There is set up for what is to come but you never really get anything beyond just a loosely stitched together series of events as we watch Hobo take down every person responsible for an injustice he witnesses. This is a revenge flick plain and simple, when you sit down to watch a movie entitled Hobo with a Shotgun you should only ever have two thoughts running through your head at that time. How many people are going to die and in what manner? And on that note the film is a giant success because it spares nobody to point of you constantly wondering who will go next. I love that about this genre of film because when it is done right it gets the blood stirring and the excitement surging.

But the revenge movie genre is a well worn one, especially the gritty B-movie approach of recent years. It has been done countless times from just about every perspective you can imagine. So a new entry would have to do something different or at the very least attempt to approach the material from a different angle to make it interesting. What director Jason Eisner did isn't exactly what I would consider breaking new ground as he presents the film as an homage to those gloriously simplistic revenge fantasies from the 70's and 80's where a man walks into town, doesn't like all the crime and literally kills it. In an effort to capture the look as well as the feel of those other films he employed some major use of over saturated colors in a variety of settings that made it seem as though the film stock it was shot on was of the cheap variety.What the film lacks in originality though it more than makes up for with pure unadulterated glee.

Slick is offering up some BBQ for the school kids.

Both the look and setting for the film work well enough for the material but the real ace up the director's sleeve was in the casting of Rutger Hauer as the Hobo. I grew up watching Rutger Hauer decimate countless bad guys in such films as Wanted Dead or Alive and Blind Fury. And who could forget his magnificent turns as the villain in classics like The Hitcher (the original) and Blade Runner. The man commands the screen like few other actors out there which always remained a mystery to me why his career (here in the United States anyways) just kind of dried up and withered away. Sure he has been popping up in numerous smaller rolls for the past few years here and there but it wasn't until I saw him here that I was reminded why I always liked the guy so much.

His early scenes in the film aren't anything too special as he wonders about town trying to avoid trouble while simultaneously seeking it out. Like all revenge flicks there is that turning point though when the peaceful stranger turns into the bad guys worst nightmare. Thankfully that moment happens early on in a painful display of violence that leaves Hobo on the street to die. He doesn't die of course due to being rescued by a hooker he saved earlier named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) who takes him in and nurses him back to health. Once he is fully recovered it is time for Hobo to exact some justice and that is when Rutger begins to shine once again. The ferocity in which he kills his victims is borderline crazy making you stop and think just for a second about whether he is any better than those he is killing...just for a second though.

Abby is just your everyday hooker with a heart of gold...and a shotgun/axe.

Which leads me to what is essentially the main point of the film...all the bloody deaths. I am no stranger to inventive, awe inspiring and just plain gruesome deaths but Hobo with a Shotgun somehow still shocked me a few times here and there. And that is a HUGE compliment because I have seen some shit. Hobo kills his victims with a shotgun (of course) but the one thing the filmmakers did was find just about as many ways as possible for someone to die from a shotgun. It's either they get a hole in their gut, their head blown off, their penis destroyed or get disemboweled. The deaths themselves wouldn't be nearly as satisfying if it wasn't for how well the film creates these slimy and disgusting criminals that meet their fate at the hands of the Hobo.

Seriously, these are some messed up and disturbed individuals that populate this town. The Drake and his two sons are most definitely the craziest of the bunch (with Ivan being the most entertaining by a long shot). That trio along with their insanely devoted group of women (one of them bathes in a geyser of blood spewing from the neck of a headless man) are responsible for some of the film's more bat shit insane moments. From a flamethrower used on a school bus full of children (you actually see the damn kids burning!) to a guy suspended in the air being hit continuously with bats by naked women like a pinata, there is very little left to the imagination. Probably one of the best lines to sum up the mindset of these people is this witticism by The Drake "When life gives you razor blades, you make a bat....covered in razor blades!".

The Hobo shows no mercy...not even to Santa Claus.

Their insanity is only one upped by the duo called The Plague which are introduced at the 11th hour. These guys are from another world...literally, I think (watching them wrestle a damn octopus...err...thing, gave me a moment of pause with their origin possibilities). Completely covered in metal from head to toe, riding motorcycles and dragging an empty coffin behind them they are brought in by The Drake to take the Hobo down once and for all. It was at this moment when I didn't think the film could go any further, I had seen kids cook in a bus, a man hiding inside the guts of another man, a guy electrocuted after sticking his ice skate in a toaster and a pedophile Santa Claus get his head blown off. But when The Plague begin to wreak havoc in the local hospital I was once again in a slight state of shock. Up to this point all those deaths had been pretty straightforward but these guys have a certain way of killing people that is better seen than explained.

It is important to note that even though the film is primarily focused on all the gore and killings there was still a sliver of humanity to be found amongst all the blood shed. The girl Abby and Hobo become fairly close during the course of events that unfold and I actually found myself hoping that they would both come out of this gigantic heap of shit they got themselves into okay. But this isn't the sentimental type of movie where your heroes ride off into the least not before they take some extreme punishment at the hands of the villains. You need that though in a film like this, you need to feel something for these characters in order to get on board with their actions and to be shocked at what happens to them. The more the film makes you despise the villains the more sweet it is when they finally get whats coming to them and Hobo with a Shotgun does not disappoint.

The Plague...are they human or something else?

The finale of the movie will probably leave some people scratching their head though unfortunately, even if they were on board with everything that came before it. It's not so much that it ends badly, its more like it just ends and that's it. There are some pretty unexpected stuff that happens to some of the lead characters in the final battle that just had me in complete awe, sort of like "Man, they will live but that is still pretty f@#ked up!". That stuff is as good as anyone could hope for but it is the final moment, the last scene that will have some people up in arms but I am not one of those people. I found the conclusion to be a very fitting end for what is essentially an exploitation flick. Anyone looking for an epilogue can go watch Return of the King again.

This one is pretty cut and dry in my opinion. If you love yourself a good revenge flick and want to see some truly disgusting people get dispatched in some very disturbing ways then this will fuel your fire in the best way possible. I cannot see anyone being disappointed by the content at all, however the look of the film may detract some enjoyment due to certain scenes being a little too over saturated but that is a very minor quibble and one that might be more of personal taste. If you are either a fan of Rutger Hauer and/or a fan of this genre of film then I highly suggest that you...





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Hi David,

On behalf of Magnolia Pictures and the movie’s producers, many thanks for plugging “Hobo with a Shotgun" ... .. thanks also, on behalf of the distributors and producers, for not posting any pirate copies or non-trailer clips of “Hobo with a Shotgun" and if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, previews, then the official trailer is available for fans and bloggers to post / host / share etc at .. for further details of on-line promotions for this movie and Magnolia / Magnet releases generally, check-out and their official YouTube channel at

Thanks again for your plug.



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