With a fantastic title like "Hobo With a Shotgun," you can pretty much surmise what this retro exploitation movie has to offer -- comic book violence, a rad early '80s score, over-the-top everything, and newspaper headlines that read: "Hobo stops begging, demands change."
This fun film firmly rests on Rutger Hauer's seasoned shoulders -- this badass actor ruled early-'80s cinema like "Blade Runner" and "Ladyhawke" -- and he takes a madman's glee in fleshing out his hobo with a heart of gold.
Instead of a can of beans, Hauer's hobo clutches a shotgun after reaching his breaking point in a festering town where a crime boss and his two sadistic sons sink to increasingly lower depths of depravity. Expect to see gratuitous blood and gore, topless women beating a human piñata, decapitation, a pedophile Santa Claus, a tentacled beast, and a girl stabbing a man with her exposed wrist bone. Are you there yet?
First-time director Jason Eisener – whose Canadian heritage is obvious with every sight of a hockey stick -- originally won a fake trailer contest sponsored by SXSW Film Festival and Robert Rodriguez, which enabled him to make this feature. And much like "Machete," "Planet of Terror," and "Death Proof," expect to laugh and cheer at the most cringe-worthy moments and the not-so-subtle dialogue. Example: "I'm gonna sleep in your bloody carcasses tonight!"
What's surprising about the film is that contrasted with the ultra-violence is a lot of sentimental sappiness between the hobo and his sympathetic hooker friend Abby (Molly Dunsworth), who discuss bears and share pipe dreams of leaving town to start their landscaping company—"You grow it. We cut it." In one such scene, the hobo vigilante saves Abby from a rapist cop by annihilating his corpse and then sweetly saying, "Let me walk you home."
The strongest moments in the film are the action scenes involving the mysterious murderous duo known as The Plague, who come in full suits of armor, and Hauer's moving speech to a group of infants in a hospital used in the film's excellent trailer. You get the sense that this speech is why Hauer agreed to do the film in the first place; it gives the veteran actor some serious scenery to chew on in between all the hookers and guts.