DVD Review: Hobo With A Shotgun

As film titles go this one gets you with both barrels (sigh). You’ll be forgiven for thinking that this is going to be a marketing execs wet dream….”yeah the daily mail has given us a kick in across the front page, we’re gonna be so rich we wont even be able to understand the concept of money!”

It’s not that film.

The guys behind it have neatly wrapped up everything that I love about late 80s cinema, or more importantly the VHS market at the time. Hobo reminds me of that little video shop that first introduced me to Critters, Robocop and Raw Deal as well as scampi and lemon flavour Nik Naks when I was 8 or 9. All the lurid covers with guns and explosions, words like MAXIMUM and VENGEANCE also the most coveted thing of all when your 8 or 9, the holy grail of coolness, the little round 18 certificate!

The story is a straight A to B to C affair. Hobo is down on his luck, society around him has gone the shape of a pear and now he’s the moral wrecking ball of truth and justice. In different hands this could’ve been a so bad it’s good kind of film, however director Jason Eisner and writer John Davies have put together an exploitation flick that can handle scrutiny and above all repeat viewings. Rutger Hauer is perfect as the Hobo. Haggard, bitter and with integrity to boot. I full on air punched when he got his trusty boom stick, in a scene that has you eating out of the palm of its hand. From then on in it’s pretty full on as owner of the city ‘The Drake’ takes a dislike to Hobo and dispatches his sons Slick and Ivan, who…may I add made me want to get a varsity jacket and ray bans so badly! The film only slightly strays into “Jesus wept you can’t do that” territory, I shan’t spoil it for you, but it does involve a flamethrower!

It’s in the last 20min or so of the film that it loses sight, and goes a touch too far with the introduction of The Plague aka Rip and Grinder. These pair of armour-clad demons, you ‘eard, have their own video game in the film, and kill anything that moves with a skill set taken from Mortal Kombat. Now, if I was 8 or 9 this would be pretty bad ass, sadly at 29 I only thought it was moderately bad ass and a touch silly. Trademarks from Evil Dead and Braindead get borrowed at this point, a weaponised lawnmower and modified shotguns are shoe horned into the film as the Hobo and friends make a last stand.

The production is top notch and uses colour, editing and effects to it’s full potential, making Hope Town look every bit as grimey and day glo as it should be. I hold this film in high regard as you rarely get a film that should be silly, and is very silly but has a underlying feeling that the makers took it seriously. It wont win any awards for storytelling and character development but I have a soft spot for it and will go back to it again and again.

EDIT – Here is the trailer…

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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