What can you say about a movie like HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN? It’s cheap, unapologetic exploitation cinema and it wears that moniker on its sleeve proudly. The violence is graphic and over the top, the language is filthy and the dialogue overall is laughable at times, but that’s precisely the point. There’s a lot of really vivid color schemes used to hide some of the shortcomings or so it would seem, but don’t be fooled, this isn’t high art or the pinnacle of professional filmmaking. I couldn’t hold that much against HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN though, because in the end it’s still a decent blood-soaked piece of entertainment.
A hobo (Rutger Hauer) cruises into a town affectionately nicknamed Scum Town via the railroad. Upon walking the streets he quickly realizes that the town is under constant threat of a man named Drake (Brian Downey) who also has the cops in his back pocket. The hobo quickly grows weary of the corruption and constant wave of crime throughout the city and comes into possession of a pump action shotgun. With the shotgun in hand the hobo starts blowing the cities criminals away until Drake shows that he will stop at nothing to take back the town.
Having no expectations for a movie called HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is definitely the best way to approach the film. I had semi-high hopes for it and came out mildly disappointed in it. I still came out liking it to some extent but not near as much as I’d hoped.
For a grindhouse film there were moments that I felt like HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN wasn’t quite trashy enough. The violence doesn’t disappoint, but it’s never quite as risqué as other films in the genre. There are flashes such as when a man’s head is ripped over from a sewer and a woman approaches the blood geyser and randomly begins bathing herself in the blood. Another flash is a scene in which there are three women bashing a man hanging upside down with baseball bats and they are all topless. Aside from those specific visual examples the language is as trashy as it gets and the focus here is extreme violence. The practical effects are pretty impressive as well, from exploding heads, feet and fingers as well as an impressive kill featuring a baseball bat covered with razor blades. If you enjoy a good bloodbath then you will not be disappointed with this one.
If you are not a fan of grindhouse, steer clear away, because the acting, the dialogue and the violence can get excessive, obnoxious and offensive at an extreme level. There are some very funny jokes and throwaway lines of dialogue here and there but overall the script is very strange and awkward more often than not. Some characters spit out some extremely nonsensical sentences with a very straight face and the result left me cold on the film during those
Rutger Hauer is great and if not for him I probably would have no other reason to recommend the film outside of the ridiculous violence. Drake’s sons Slick and Ivan are probably two of the most obnoxious characters I’ve witnessed recently. Not just because they are ridiculously over the top but because they say and do things that I feel were meant to be funny but completely missed its mark, specifically an act involving a flame thrower. Hauer on the other hand is both intense and hilarious when he’s dropping wisdom on his potential victims. He gives so pretty maniacal monologues that I actually found to be a saving grace of the movie when I was getting irritated with some of the more outrageous moments.
I also have to admit that I really disliked a lot of the music. The only moments from the soundtrack I enjoyed was the synth tracks that were ringing during some of the more intense moments and during one of Hauer’s monologues that he delivers to the infant ward of a hospital. In all honesty apart from Hauer’s performance the old school slasher feel of the music was the last link keeping me wrapped up in the experience.
Is HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN a good movie? Honestly, no, it’s not. It is however an entertaining trip into the world of exploitation cinema complete with buckets of blood and guts and a script filled with politically incorrect slang and profanity. If you can stomach the carnage, by all means fire it up and enjoy the ride. There’s enough meat to chew on here to justify the ticket but don’t be surprised at the hefty pile of fat you have to cut through to enjoy it.