Have you ever wondered what exactly one would get if one were to take aspects of such films as Escape From New York, Falling Down, Yojimbo, Walking Tall, Mad Max and A Clockwork Orange and throw them all into one big bubbling cauldron of giddy Grindhouse goo? Okay, I haven't either (seriously, who the Hell has!?), but nonetheless the answer can be nothing other than that latest ballsy B-movie with an attitude, Hobo with a Shotgun. Way way waaay over the top, Jason Eisener's paean to those really really (really) bad slasher/revenge drive-in movies of the 1970's and 1980's is a gleeful Grand Guignol fully gushing with that aforementioned giddy Grindhouse goo - and I mean that in the most complimentary way.
Expanded, like last year's madly maniacal Machete, from one of the fake trailers on the Tarantino/Rodriguez double bill/love fest Grindhouse, Hobo stars (appropriately enough) Rutger Hauer as the titular shotgun-wielding homeless man who, while riding the rails as they say, comes upon a lawless town that is so full of enough destructive discord and depravation that it has every right to be nicknamed Helltown. After befriending the requisite hooker with a heart of gold (the feature debut of Molly Dunsworth) and running afoul of the town's psychotic despot (think Boss Tweed meets Bill the Butcher meets Aunty Entity beyond Thunderdome, with a twist of any David Lynch villain), Hauer's already more than slightly off transient picks up a pawn shop shotgun (and pays the $49.99 for it!) and begins blowing the bad guys away.
These bad guys consist of everyone from a trio of ski-masked punks robbing the aforementioned pawn shop (and threatening to shoot a baby point blank - let's see Erich von Stroheim do that!) to a particularly nasty pimp, a sadistic local filmmaker, a pedophiliac Santa Claus (yeah, you read that right), an almost complete police force of crooked cops and the ridiculously arrogant (and quite twisted in their own right) offspring of the town's killer driller top dog. By the time we get to the film's finale, which is highlighted by a pair of armored psychos who appear to be relatives of Zed and the Gimp from Pulp Fiction and the most creative use of a lawn mower this critic has ever seen in a movie, the body count (and in case you don't think the bad guys - or the director - are sick enough to blowtorch a schoolbus full of kids...) is through the appropriately proverbial roof.
Ostensibly set in the 1980's (nowhere did I see an actual date, but between the clothes, the music, the video games and other various accessories, this critic is reminded of those halcyon high school days of the early to mid eighties) though with opening credits showing a visibly seventies flare (not to mention Tarantino again, but...), Hobo With A Shotgun is a boisterous, boffo B-movie lark of a filmgoing experience, full of vim and vigor and more than a few beheadings and vivisections via a baseball bat covered in razor blades (that last one is one of the goriest gross-out moments of the film), and though it may be far from your typical mainstream menu, and perhaps even those off the beaten path will find themselves a bit queasy as well, it is a damn fun movie to watch. Damn fun indeed. [08/01/11]