Hobo with a Shotgun


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"You and me are goin' on a car-ride to hell... and you're riding shotgun! "

Aug 04, 2011

I was more than a little disappointed that we here in England never got to experience the double feature Grindhouse as it was intended. The two films were released individually and all the fake trailers made for them were removed. I knew this was going to be the case so I made sure to watch them all online (the trailers, not the films). The trailers were actually better than the full features and talk immediately sprung up about turning them into full length features. Out of all of them Hobo with a Shotgun was not at the top of my wish list.

The Hobo trailer wasn't originally part of the first run of Grindhouse. A competition was run for members of the public to submit their own Grindhouse trailers. The winning entry would go on to be included with the Grindhouse release in Canada. When I heard about this I rushed to find the trailer for Hobo with a Shotgun, the name alone was gold. Only it didn't live up to the other trailers. The content was solid enough but it looked so cheap and grimy (I know that's what Grindhouse is), it lacked the charm of the theatrical fake trailers. See trailer below.


I knew I was being overly harsh as it was made on next to no budget but I preferred Machete and Thanksgiving. When it was announced that Hobo was being made into a film I really wasn't that interested in it. I'd probably see it one day but I wasn't going out of my way to see it. Then they announced who was going to play the Hobo, Rutger Hauer. That was all I needed to get on board. The first trailer for the full film was basically a remake of the one above yet It was so much more, it's what I had expected the first time I sat down to see the first trailer.

Released this Monday on DVD and Bluray I was a little disappointed I never got to see it on the big screen. That being there's something that just seems right about watching cheaply made flicks in your own home. It reminds me of how I used to buy all manner of crappy VHS movies when I was younger. Hobo with a Shotgun pretty much is about what it says on the tin. A Hobo moves to a town (I say moves can a tramp really move somewhere, wanders into I suppose) that is run by a corrupt police force and for some reason a man known as the Drake. Probably the worst town in the world (can't see Carlsberg running that advert); it really makes you wonder why people live there. After a couple of incidents the Hobo purchases a Shotgun and goes on a rampage. Then the film ends.

The story is naff in all honesty but if you go into a grindhouse style film expecting anything more than you'll be disappointed time and time again. The reason to watch this type of film is to purely be entertained. Check your brain at the door.

The look and the style of the film is what really drew me into its madness. The entire tone invokes 80's b movies from it wonderful opening sequence with filmed in Technicolor stamped in the credits to its synthesised musical ques. This film really belongs in a different time. The film is beautifully coloured I have never seen anything quite like it aside from the Speed Racer live action movie. For every savage action there is also a moment of serine imagery.

I also assume that the entire film takes place in an 80's setting. There are no overt references to define the era such as popular 80's tracks ( most period films use music to define time period this way, quite lazy really) but subtle moments such as the fact that none of the characters ever display mobile phones and make all their call from pay phones

The prior Grindhouse flicks to this (Planet Terror, Death Proof and Machete) were homages to the genre but Hobo really could sit side by side with the genre. It is pure grindhouse. It's a Troma film with a larger budget. Rutger Hauer owns this film and rightly so. He delivers all the lines of dialogue as if they were absolute pearls of wisdom when they are nothing more than clichés and plot driven non sense yet he makes you believe there is substance there. Hauer gives an amazing performance it seems as though he really is giving what could be considered an Oscar worthy role (it's not but that's the intensity he gives off). What a glorious day it would be too see Hobo with a Shotgun nominated for best picture.

Most of the characters are one dimensional cannon fodder. Scratch that all the characters are one dimensional cannon fodder but the majority have unique traits and quirks that really make them stand out. The plague- two ultimate bounty hunters have such a great design and story potential I would love for a spin off with their characters (also loved that on their wall of collected bounties they had a picture of Jesus Christ). Watch out for a small cameo from the original Hobo with a Shotgun.

A pleasant surprise was Brian Downey as the villain of the piece Drake. I haven't seen him in anything since Lexx ended and was pleased to see him in another role. Drake is one of the most vile creations ever to grace the screen and is played with such joy by Downey. When you usually watch a movie you root for the villain but not in this film. Drake and his two sons commit acts that are so gruesome you want to see him get his due by the movies end. I haven't wanted to see a films hero kick the bad guys arse so much since the original Robocop.

A serious word of warning when it comes to Hobo with a Shotgun it really earns its 18 certificate. Unlike other Grindhouse cinema the moments of violence although surreal at times does not branch into cartoony territory. The entire film is played straight with a serious edge to the proceedings. This also leads to some absolutely horrid moments that I know many will find quite distressing to watch. No one is given a free pass; even children can die in this one.

I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this movie and recommend it to everyone (providing they are old enough to view it). This is a film to be watched with friends and a pizza (it may put you off you food come to think of it) as long as you know what you are going to experience. This film will grace my collection proudly and I will try my best to get as many people as possible to watch it. The film is available to but now and is on sale for the price of £8.99 which is cheaper than most cinema tickets and you can watch this again and again (of which you'll want to)

The Blu-ray and DVD have a host of special feature that included deleted scenes and a making of documentary. The best extra though has to be the alternate ending which I really wish they had left in. More of an extended ending than an alternate it complements the film nicely and straightens out a small plot hole left when the credits role. It also sets up the potential of sequel/spin off. I pray that director Jason Eisener makes another. Click here to buy the DVD.

Just an extra that amused me. The end credits feature a song that I found myself singing along to. At first I wasn't sure where I had heard the song before only to realise that it was the theme to the great Kids cartoon the Racoons. Here it is below. Enjoy.


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