Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun - Sometimes a movie's title is so powerful and unique that it needs little else to sell it. For a certain kind of movie fan (and I am a certain kind of movie fan) "Hobo with a Shotgun" is really all I needed to know to get me excited for well, "Hobo with a Shotgun." The ludicrously over the top trailer and the fact that Roy Batty himself, Rutger Hauer, would be playing said hobo, only sweetened the deal. As I settled in last Friday afternoon, still sick and downing Robitussin like it was water I excitedly selected it from my On Demand menu. I don't know when this gun-toting tramp is going to show up at a theater near me so I intived him into my home. Was he a welcome guest?
Directed and co-written by Jason Eisener, "Hobo with a Shotgun" features a beheading by way of man hole cover less than ten minutes in. The victim is the younger brother of "The Drake" (Brian Downey), the man who owns Hope City by instilling fear into the hearts of every citizen and keeping the police force firmly in his pocket. The act is carried out by Drake's sons, Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman). It's vile and gratuitous and it's meant to be, though it's hardly the most shocking or graphic moment in the film's 86 minutes. Once Hobo (that's even how his name appears in the end credits) starts to take crime and the Drake head on it becomes one of the most gleefully disgusting movies anyone could possibly conceive of. It even crosses some lines that I've never seen another movie cross before.
It's clear early on that Eisener's trying to create a stew, a hobo stew if you like, of "The Warriors," "Repo Man," "Six-String Samurai," "Black Dynamite," and the early no budget films of Peter Jackson. And if this movie had actually worked the results would have been fantastic. The problem is though that "Hobo with a Shotgun" always feels too impressed with itself. It comes across like some guy who gets a tattoo and shows it off to everyone while proclaiming how much of a badass he is. The thing is if he has to make a point of telling everyone he's a badass...then he isn't.
That said, it's not a total waste either. There are times when "Hobo" is what we actually want it to be, such as the moment where our hero first decides he must take action. And Hobo's desire to turn town prostitute Abby (Molly Dunsworth) away from her current profession and into a life as a teacher is sweet and funny. When Eisener isn't smirking at his own cleverness he's really quite good.
For his part Hauer is absolutely fantastic. If only the script and direction had more wit. Hobo would be mentioned forever in the same breath with the "Evil Dead" trilogy's Ash and he actually could have been much more interesting. There is an interesting character there and Hauer did as much as he possibly could to bring him out but Eisener couldn't get out of his own way and like everything else in this movie, chacter development got buried under a river of blood.
It's not that I have a problem with playing gore for laughs. I don't and no one wanted to love "Hobo with a Shotgun" more than I did. But gore and a foul-mouthed quip in and of themselves aren't automatically funny. In the end it's the idea of "Hobo with a Shotgun" that's so funny and if I were ten years younger that might have been enough. But it's the execution that isn't up to par. So really I guess I had two guests into my home. Hauer can stay, but Eisener? I'm throwing the bum out until he learns a little humility. 5/10.

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