Review: HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Review: HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011)


Exploitation cinema doesn't come heavily promoted, at least for this year, with Jason Eisener's highly-anticipated debut HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. With an inspired casting choice of cult favorite Rutger Hauer front-and-center, expect this to be a shotgun-blast of a movie. In fact this movie is based on a fake trailer made for 2007's GRINDHOUSE by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, so what's not to like? Surprisingly, a lot. And guess what? HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is more of a flat-out roadkill.

The movie begins with an elder wanderer or simply a hobo (Rutger Hauer) gets off the train near Hopetown. As soon as he arrives, he witnesses a local crime boss named Drake (Brian Downey) and his crazy sons Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) executing Drake's brother in front of many frightened citizens in a gruesome fashion. The hobo feels angry about this but he doesn't want to get into the trouble. After all, he's more concerned of getting enough money to buy the $49.99 lawnmower in a pawn shop, hoping to start his own business one day. And so he starts begging until the night he finds himself involved with a hooker named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) who almost gets raped by Slick in the back alley. Despite the hobo's goodwill to make a citizen's arrest, he realizes that the whole police force is as morally corrupted as the bad guys themselves. The hobo ends up getting beaten and the word "scum" carved onto his chest. It doesn't take long before he had enough and eventually becoming a vigilante to shoot whichever scumbag he feels despised of with a shotgun.

At the ground level, writer-director Jason Eisener gets the tone right with all the garish color, blood, gore, violence, profanity and over-the-top characters done in a grindhouse style of exploitation cinema. A genre like that is certainly not for everybody, but for all the effort Eisener trying so hard to recreate a low-budget trash, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN surprisingly fails in many area.

First off, is the story itself. The plot, written by Eisener, John Davis and Rob Cotterill has somehow tackles the genre a bit too seriously. While the movie is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek undertone, the result isn't satisfying either. The biggest fault is the movie tries to inject some melodrama in between which spoils most of the fun. Subplot involving the hobo's relationship with Abby -- yup, the hooker who has a heart of gold, is simply a chore to sit through. It doesn't help either when the dialogues are awfully stilted and the movie feels redundant. A more streamlined story would have been sufficed.

Then the cast. Rutger Hauer is certainly having fun playing the titular character and he's the main reason to watch for. Too bad his enthusiastic, take-no-prisoner presence alone can't save the movie much. The rest of the actors play their roles as broad as they can, but most of them are hit-or-miss.

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN could have used some credibility factor here, but instead it's all tastelessly showy and little guilty pleasure.

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