Movie Review : Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
Watching a feature-length movie based on a grindhouse trailer contest rarely is a good idea. That's why I've never watched Machete. I mean, who the fuck cares about a machete-wielding Mexican guy outside the fact he's a machete-wielding Mexican guy? Exactly. You'd think I should've known better than to watch the other feature-length movie born out of this contest Hobo with a Shotgun. But I don't. That movie's been sitting in my Netflix queue for over a year and I thought it would make rad content if I reviewed it for Halloween. Turns out it was kind of a piece of shit, but I'll tell you about it anyway.
If you've blissfully avoided Hobo with a Shotgun for all these years, here's the gist of it: Rutger Hauer is the titular Hobo, who walks his boxcar into a place called Hope Town. Upon his arrival, a man is beheaded with a manhole by a local club owner named The Drake, who seems to have the entire city under his spell. Our Hobo tries to go to the police, but it reveals to be under The Drake's control too. Fighting for survival in a world gone mad, he stumbles upon a young prostitute with a heart of gold named Abby. Abby and Hobo (that's fun to say) are fighting a losing battle in Hope Town, but they're not going to quit without shooting a few deserving faces.
Hobo with a Shotgun is not a good movie, but it easily could've been one. The Hobo represents and antiquated view of the world, where order was preserved by everyone knowing and accepting their purpose in life. He makes Abby instantly feel better (and stronger) by calling her a teacher and treating her as such. The Hobo's worldview is extremely narrow-minded, but positive. Our antagonist The Drake represents radical freedom and entropy. When faced with choice, humanity will always deny its programming and choose self-destruction. Now, fuck me if it isn't a great source of ideological conflict, right? Well, hold your horses because Hobo with a Shotgun is thoroughly uninterested in exploring it.
All there is to Hobo with a Shotgun is a confrontation between the Hobo and The Drake. Not an ideological confrontation between Rockwellian ideals and a consumerism-driven society. Not even between a dirty, beat-up good and an all-powerful evil. It is a series of gruesome firefights, mutilations and summary executions that lead nowhere but to mutually assured destruction. All the brashness and the colors in the world cannot prevent Hobo with a Shotgun from being boring as fuck. The movie is well-written on a line-to-line basis. Screenwriter John Davies definitely has an ear for dialogue. But all the blood, guts and murder in the world cannot make up for good storytelling. Whether Hobo with a Shotgun is ironically bad or not, it's just bad.
Let's face it. That grindhouse cinema thing was fun for half a minute before talentless hacks saw a quick dollar to make and ran it into the ground. I wouldn't call director Jason Eisener a bona fide hack based on this film alone because it has a certain sense of style and pacing, but he sure layed a fucking egg. There sure as shit is a lot of hobo shooting people in Hobo with a Shotgun, but it gets boring after a while and nothing else in this movie can redeem it. If this is in your Netflix queue, just uncheck it and forget that it ever existed. Jason Eisener is still working today and you can make your opinion based on other movies. Because you could make much better use of your time than watching Hobo with a Shotgun.