Bizarro Masterpiece Theatre: Hobo with a Shotgun

Film: Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

Director: Jason Eisener

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Brian Downey, Gregory Smith

Written by: John Davies

Flat out: Hobo with a Shotgun made me feel good to be alive.  It’s the most wonderfully ridiculous film I’ve seen in ages.  A perfect mixture of dirtbag 80s vigilante cinema with the sort of bloody exploitation flick that most filmmakers totally fuck up by trying to play it cool, Hobo’s secret ingredient is its winning personality.  While there’s no shortage of tits and blood to be found here, those elements aren’t crammed down the viewer’s throat to compensate for the rest of a dull fucking movie.  Instead, the creators of this instant classic are obviously great big wonderful dorks, and it’s clear that their first and foremost goal in making Hobo with a Shotgun was to have the most fun they could possibly have.  They succeeded.

There’s something almost Road House-esque about the resulting hour and a half of cinema, featuring Rutger Hauer rambling around the urban decay as a half-crazed train-hopper.  Hauer’s unnamed vagrant hobbles into a town ruled by the razorblade fist of a murderous tyrant, and after a brief and ill-advised period of trying to get by unscathed, our hobo hero finds his trusty shotgun and trusty hooker sidekick, and he goes on a philosophy-and-pun-fueled ass kicking rampage.  Sure, Swayze’s Zen bouncer was a touch less schizophrenic than Hauer’s glass eating Hobo, but their hearts are filled with the same triumphant justice!

Our Hobo’s epic saga is fraught with awesome villainy.  The city’s genocidal dictator is a Napoleonic imp on an endless seizure of spastic screaming, and his demon enforcers, two walking suits of murder armor, are completely kickass.  The cream of the scum, however, comes in the form of the two sons of the dictator, a pair of letter jacket and sunglasses-at-night sporting yuppie bastards who wreak bloody entitlement with the greatest of glee.  These jerks are responsible for most of the film’s greatest moments, including its zenith in which they take a flamethrower to a bus full of kids while getting down to “Disco Inferno.”  It might have been a gruesome scene if it wasn’t played so silly.

In Hobo, the absurd is everywhere, and it’s hilarious.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie with so many fantastically bad one-liners, and the shit which comes out of these characters’ mouths is the gold which steers the ship.  The Hobo’s behavioral idiosyncrasies and violence so over the top as to be rendered slapstick only enhance the film’s sense of nonsense.  For all of its hoboeroticism, I love the shit out of Hobo with a Shotgun.

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