- Movie Rating -

Hobo With a Shotgun (2010)

| December 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

Hobo with a Shotgun is a nasty, ugly, mean-spirited piece of business that displays nothing more than a vomitorium of violence and suffering. That’s undoubtedly the way that filmmakers intended it, but that still doesn’t make it watchable. It is a melancholy comment on western civilization to note that there is probably an audience hungry for a movie like this.  The title alone has the potential to draw in audiences who love the kind of cheesy blood and gore nonsense loaded with wall-to-wall shootings, beheadings, disembowelings, dismemberments, torture and head-splitting.  This is the same audience who spends Saturday nights with Grindhouse and Troma pictures.  God bless them.

The title pretty much sums things up.  A hobo (Rutger Hauer) rides the rails into a new town hoping for a fresh start.  Unfortunately, he gets off at a town called Hope Town (the welcome sign has been changed via graffiti to “Scum Town”), the worst possible hellhole one could imagine.  To give you an idea, try to imagine that the killer from Saw bred disciples made up of maniacs who crawled out Dante’s Inferno.  Everywhere in town is bloodshed and despair.  The men in town are murderous lowlifes.  The women are all prostitutes, and everywhere depravity lives in speed-up.

The town is run by a scummy mobster named Drake (Brian Downey) who, as the movie opens, intimidates the populace by beheading a man with his car.  His security is led by his sons, two disgusting low-lifes who calls themselves Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman).  They help to keep the local population in line with such acts as setting a school bus full of kids on fire with a flamethrower.  Nice, huh?

The anarchy in the town gets the hobo’s attention.  At first he just wants to buy a lawnmower so he can makes some money starting up a business, but he changes his mind when he witnesses three thugs threatening a woman and her baby during a robbery.  The hobo forgoes his plan to buy a lawnmower and instead buys a shotgun and goes on a killing spree.  He becomes a vigilante, toting his shotgun he blows away local scum like a coke dealer, a cameraman who pays the homeless to beat themselves, and a pedophile dressed as Santa Claus.  These acts get Drake’s attention and the rest of the movie becomes an all-out bloody war between his minions and the hobo.  The hobo’s only real connection is a plucky prostitute named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) that he swears to protect.

It probably won’t surprise you when I say that Hobo with a Shotgun is generally pretty unpleasant.  Much of the violence is cartoonish, and many of the killings are born of bad special effects.  Still, the film’s purpose is nothing less than turning your stomach.  That was its purpose, the film originated from a fake trailer that was part of a contest to promote Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double-feature.   The trailer, at three minutes in length, had a kind of goofy charm.  At feature length, it becomes repetitive and depressing.  The blood and guts look cheesy and fake but it gets old very fast.

What turned me off was that the movie was so relentlessly ugly, featuring nightmarish images that are designed to shock, and did their jobs perfectly well. That doesn’t exactly mean I want to see them. Is there an audience willing to see a pedophile in a Santa Claus touching himself as he watches kids on a playground? Is there an audience who would get a thrill out of a scene in which a guy burns a mother and her baby alive in a dumpster? Count me out.

Rutger Hauer occupies the title role with a performance that is probably better than the movie deserves.  His purpose is to look mean and determined as he blasts holes in the torsos of those who generally deserve it.  If you’re into this stuff, this is the movie you’re probably looking for.  If not, you will see it pretty much the same way I did, a miserable, blood-soaked extravaganza that just leaves you feeling unclean.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2010) View IMDB Filed in: Action, Comedy