by Groovinator, The Cynical Cyborg
Hobo with a Shotgun is a manufactured grind house film featuring Rutger Hauer as our main character, a homeless man who is one bad day away from oblivion. The problem with Hobo is that it is a manufactured grind house movie. It is very self aware of what it is. At times this works and at other times the mixture of over the top violence and humor doesn’t work. It is like a cake recipe with too much sugar. The ingredients for a great movie are there, but I am not sure they always blended right. The gore is intense, and while I actually normally am a big fan of gratuitous gore, there are scenes where sometimes it is put in for dramatic affect, but lingers on longer than it should, and it affects the tone of the scene.
This brings me back to the problem of a manufactured grind house movie. If you look at classic movies like this, they were originally designed to entertain a modest drive in like audience that came for excess, but the movie that was presented to them, was made to be serious. Sometimes the budget actors that they employ, can give an over the top performance that becomes legendary. In a case with Hobo, Rutger Hauer is the same guy that gave the famous speech at the end of Blade Runner. We KNOW he can act, so when he is being over the top, it seems, and feels a bit cheap sometimes. This is not to say that there isn’t some fun to be had with this movie.
Homeless Rutger Hauer is wandering around scavenging money to buy a lawnmower, and open his own lawn moving business. Meanwhile comically bad criminals publicly execute people in the streets. Eventually Hauer has enough, and steps in to get involved. When the head of the criminal family finds out about the Hobo’s involvement, he declares public war on the homeless. This is my other problem with the movie. At times this movie wants to deliver us some kind of a message, but that also feels cheap and lazy. It is impossible to take somebody giving a speech seriously, when a character’s head is held on with gauze, and medical tape.
I think the biggest bummer about Hobo with a Shotgun, is with a name like that, I wanted a straight comedy, a social parody, or throwback 70s style grind house type movie. The movie attempts to be all of these things, and yet fails to do any one of these things competently. When the credits rolled, I felt disappointed. It wasn’t the worst film I have ever seen. I was mildly entertained in spots…but the tonal issues, and oddly imbalanced direction took me out of those moments more often than not. I am giving Hobo With A Shotgun, 2 out of 5 cheese curds.