(No longer in theaters)
May 6, 2011
In his seventies-style gutbucket vigilante picture Hobo With a Shotgun, director Jason Eisener aims low and splatters his target all over the screen. Really, it’s hard to see why the NRA is so insistent that the Second Amendment apply to automatic weapons when you can blow people’s intestines out with a simple pump shotgun. Rutger Hauer plays the bum who jumps off a freight train and shuffles with his shopping cart into a dystopian village ruled by a showbizzy crime boss (Brian Downey) who calls himself “the Drake” and his two sadistic-idiot sons. They like to kill people by fixing manhole covers around their victims’ heads and … I’ll spare you. The camera rests on Hauer’s sickened, battered face as people are tortured, and we wait for him to get the eponymous weapon and do the righteous thing.
There’s something appealing about the movie’s unpretentious carnival of carnage, although I could have done without the flamethrower assault on a school bus to raise the stakes. The most novel element is a filmmaker (Pasha Ebrahimi), who hires bums to fight for the camera, gushing over his subjects like a Hollywood agent while they pummel one another. It’s a nice touch that Hauer earns the money for his shotgun by eating glass for this director. After he rushes a wounded hooker to the hospital, he lingers by the maternity ward and addresses the newborns, lamenting the day they’ll be crushed by this vile culture, victimize others, and sell their bodies on the streets. It’s an open question whether keeping them away from movies like Hobo would help in that noble goal.
Inspired: Hobo With a Shotgun was originally a bogus trailer shown during Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 schlocky double feature, Grindhouse.