Hobo With a Shotgun probably has the most explanatory title of any film since Snakes on a Plane. In one swift move it tell its audience everything it needs to know: there’s a hobo and he has a shotgun. Occasionally he shoots people with it. In fact, past that, there is little else to say about it.
Rutger Hauer is a hobo who rolls into Hope Town via train to find the place ruled by The Drake (Brian Downey) and his sons Slick and Ivan (Gregory Smith & Nick Bateman respectively). After witnessing the excessive and casual violence polluting the town, Hauer buys himself a shotgun and goes to work delivering gun-ishment to those bad, bad people who prey on the weak.
Since the release of Grindhouse back in 2007, the grimy exploitation aesthetic has become prolific again. In fact, Hobo With a Shotgun started life as the winning trailer of Robert Rodriguez’s South by Southwest Grindhouse trailer contest and it wears its pedigree with pride. Whilst it doesn’t go as far as to deliberately deteriorate the quality of the footage, as seen with Planet Terror and Death Proof, there is debauchery aplenty, with the violence depicted ranging from beatings and decapitations to rape and the killing of children, all of which is displayed with a grime filled sordid glee. It revels in its sickness and encourages the audience to join in.
That’s not to say the film is without merit. A movie such as this can only be rated when compared to its contemporaries (the likes of Grindhouse or Piranha 3D, etc) and, on that front, it succeeds quite well. Despite its sadistic streak, it knows where it stands and delivers its grue in such a deliberately over the top fashion that it’s never less than a deliriously enjoyable guilty pleasure. With bad guys this nasty, you can’t help but cheer at the shotgun-tastic brutality. A policeman’s about to rape hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Abby (Molly Dunsworth)? Hauer shoots him into meaty chunks of dead.
It’s a void statement to say this film won’t win any awards but it never aspires to. It’s a demented, barbaric gore fest that has no time for pithy things such as well-rounded characters or a decent story. It has a man, with a shotgun who shoots some very nasty people. To expect anything more is pointless.
Best scene: After having her arm chopped up in the motor of a lawnmower, Abby turns and repeatedly stabs her assailant with the bloody bone protruding from her wound.
Best line: Hauer screaming, ‘Choke on this you child molesting shit licker!’ before shooting a masturbating paedophile Santa in the face.