My husband and I are nuts for fun, silly movies that make no excuses for their gore, thin premise, bad writing, bad acting, bad special effects or over-the-top antics. Our latest viewing pleasure has been Hobo With a Shotgun. It did not disappoint.
Hobo With a Shotgun is a story of vigilante-ism, and shows what happens when a down on his luck domicile-impaired man discovers that his new hometown is rife with crooked cops, violence, drugs and a psychotic villain. Basically it’s what Batman would have been had Bruce Wayne been homeless, suffering from a mild case of dementia, in his 50s and played by Rutger Hauer.
Over-the-top gore, cheesy one-liners and perfect straight-from-the-70s color and filming make Hobo With a Shotgun a fun, leave-your-brain-at-the-door movie, with no claim of being anything but.
The players in our little film are the Hobo, The Drake, his sons Slick and Ivan, and Abby. These are pretty much the only people you need to know in order to follow what’s going on.
The Hobo is the quintessential vigilante hero, who strives to just keep his head low and go through life making as few waves as possible. The Drake, a cross between an aging Joker, Bull from Night Court and Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees, is an over-the-top scenery chewer who aspires to be Jack Nicholson but only manages a weak Joe Pesci. Slick does his best Christian Slater from Heathers impersonation, but when I see Ivan all I can think of is that “Fagabeefee” guy from Midnight Madness.
The setup for the movie is pretty basic—Hobo appears in a hellhole city run, for no clear reason, by The Drake. Hobo tries to keep his head down, but gets caught up in trouble when he crosses paths with Slick, who practices his penmanship on Hobo’s chest with a switchblade. Hobo stumbles into Abby, the prostitute with a heart of gold, who takes him in and cares for him. Hobo crosses the line from “impartial bystander” to “shotgun wielding vigilante” the next day when a trio of gunmen threaten to kill a young woman and her baby in a pawn shop when the Hobo was in trying to buy a lawnmower.
Yes, a lawnmower. He wants to be a landscaper. Seriously.
Anyway, instead of buying a lawnmower, he picks up a fully-loaded shotgun off the rack. Cue the “blow all the bad guys away” montage, wherein we’re treated to bloody explosions in between views of the city’s seedy underbelly.
All goes well until The Drake becomes annoyed with the Hobo’s interference, and uses his evil son Slick and quasi-evil son Ivan to turn the town against the gun-toting hero. Soon it’s open season on all homeless of the city, and things start to get nuts.
As the movie progresses, Slick attacks Abby with a hacksaw, Ivan attacks Hobo with ice skates, Hobo electrocutes Ivan with a toaster and Slick becomes a eunuch thanks to Hobo’s boomstick. Then a duo called “The Plague” get into the act, and do a great job of impersonating Darth Vader, Dr. Doom, the Iron Giant and Gonk droid all at once. Well done, costume designers.
Hobo is caught and The Drake takes his good sweet time monologue-ing like all villains do as he readies to kill the troublesome bum. But Abby appears after spending some time creating some kickass armor and weaponry for herself, ala The A-Team, in an attempt to free the Hobo.
People get shot, body parts are lost, people are stabbed with bone fragments from missing body parts . . .
And that’s before the Hobo even gets himself free and gets his shotgun back!
All in all, if you enjoy fun, brainless, 70s inspired horror flicks and a little blood splatter doesn’t phase you—okay, A LOT of blood splatter—check out Hobo with a Shotgun. Before the movie, pay close attention to the “Rubber” preview. A sentient car tire that can kill with psychic powers? I’m in!