Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)

For the past few years fans have been eagerly awaiting the finished product of co-writer and director Jason Eisener's film that some of us first got a glimpse of as a faux trailer during the theatrical run of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse. Four years later and we have the actual feature film of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN and it doesn't disappoint.

Rutger Hauer stars as the title character who rides into a city best known as "Scum Town" on the rails (as any hobo would) and quickly finds that the town is controlled by a criminal known as The Drake (Brian Downey) and his two sons Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman). The cops are dirty, the people live in fear and the homeless community is constantly exploited for money or dirty deeds. With little more than a dream of buying a lawnmower to start his own business Hobo sees just how nasty the city really is. Sticking up for a young prostitute named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) that is being harassed by one of The Drake's sons, Hobo throws himself into the middle of the dirt and corruption the city is filled with. After the cops help attack him to get revenge for his act of defiance Abby offers him a bed to sleep in for the night and friendship.

After Hobo gathers enough money to buy a mower from the pawn shop he becomes a victim of a hold up while in the store. When the masked men threaten to kill a crying baby Hobo has had enough and grabs a shotgun from the shelf and quickly ends the situation, then turns his attention to cleaning up the city. When no criminal is safe there is plenty of bloodshed and it all leads to a showdown with Drake and The Plague, a duo of heavily armed and armored bikers who look like they came straight from an 80s Escape From New York rip off (love it) and drag coffins behind their motorcycles much like Django.

Where do I even start to sum up my thoughts? From top to bottom the movie is spectacular. It captures the feel of the movies it is an homage of perfectly and gives winks and nods to many genres and specific films. Eisener's direction is great, with a rich color palette throughout and using the few locations in the movie to make it feel much larger than it actually is. The synth driven score is aided by a couple of well placed songs that feels like it was straight from the 70s or 80s. The effects are so over the top at time its ridiculous, but never in a bad way. They're well done and will have you laughing and cheering. Pacing is spot on as well, clocking in at a brisk 85 minutes there isn't much time for a lull in the action or story. This is what Machete should have been. This is closer to 42nd St. in New York during the 70s than Grindhouse could ever hope to be, and I love Grindhouse.

I don't know what else to say except that HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is a fun fucking movie but serious in tone so it never borders on being hokey. It was worth the 4 year wait and will have endless replay value. It amazes me that this movie was made in 2010 and is getting a wide(ish) release. When it comes to a theater near you, go see it. When you see it on demand on whatever cable provider you have, order it. Buy the DVD or Blu Ray. Just see it. It is worth your time and money.


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