Movie Review: Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]
Director: Jason Eisener
Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
Language: English
Country: Canada

I’m not sure there’s a movie title that encapsulates the viewing experience better than Hobo With a Shotgun. It’s brash, in your face, and a perfect indication of the grindhouse shlock that it delivers.

Rutger Hauer stars as the shotgun-toting hobo, who doesn’t have a proper name. After living a life on the rails, the hobo arrives in the anarchic wasteland ironically known as Hope Town. After witnessing murder and general mayhem created by the town’s evil ruler, The Drake (Brian Downey) and his deranged sons, Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick (Gregory Smith), the hobo grabs a shotgun and starts dishing out justice vigilante-style.

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

Hobo With a Shotgun is as over-the-top as one would expect, and it dispenses gore by the truckload. In the first 10-15 minutes alone, there is a brutal decapitation, and Ivan and Slick even torch a bus full of small children with flamethrowers. This is only the beginning of a fucked up exploitation ride, as we run into a bizarre grab bag of freaks — a pedophile dressed as Santa Claus, a douchey director who films his own version of Bum Fights, and there’s even an oddly random encounter with some sort of tentacled object.

Seemingly the only other ‘decent’ person in Hope Town is Abby (Molly Dunsworth), a prostitute that the hobo saves and subsequently befriends. Watching the two of them team up together to take back the city is a blast, and they make a great, albeit unlikely, duo.

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

First time director Jason Eisener does a brilliant job making Hobo With a Shotgun feel like “you could have pulled [the movie] off a VHS shelf in the 80s”, as he once said. The movie is generally very dark with a nihilistic view that works well within its low budget. In fact, Eisener has crafted the genre almost too well because there is little to differentiate this from other like-minded titles. In a way, this is both a blessing and a curse.

There’s no denying that Hobo With a Shotgun is a well-made tribute to the grindhouse days of the late 70s/early 80s. It obviously has a limited audience, but those into over-the-top madness will have a great time with it. Hobo is a cut below Planet Terror and Machete, but it’s still a lot of fun.

7/10

Movie Review: Machete [2010]

Machete [2010]

Machete [2010]
Directors: Ethan Maniquis, Robert Rodriguez
Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
Language: English
Country: USA

Originally introduced via a fake trailer for the 2007 double feature, Grindhouse, Machete was turned into a full-length film last year. With Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis at the helm, this had all the makings for a riotous throwback to the old-school exploitation flicks.

Machete stars the always badass Danny Trejo as Machete Cortez, a former Mexican Federale who has been double-crossed by corrupt politicians while working as a hitman. In his quest to get revenge, he becomes entangled in an intense conflict involving illegal immigration. The whole storyline is pretty ridiculous and probably too spread-out for its own good, but it sets the tone for gratuitous violence and all-around trashiness.

Machete [2010]

If you’re offended by gory deaths, excessive blood spray, and full-frontal female nudity, then obviously Machete is not for you. This is a film that revels in its excess, and loves every second of it.

For an exploitation flick, Machete has a pretty impressive cast. Steven Seagal is a brutal drug lord who killed Machete’s wife three years before the film’s events. Robert De Niro plays Senator McLaughlin, a corrupt politician who is vehemently against illegal immigration, often resorting to violence against those trying to cross the border. Jeff Fahey is his right hand man, filling in with the same role he had in the faux trailer. Jessica Alba is an Immigrations Officer who is trying to crack the underground immigration network. Michelle Rodriguez probably does the best job overall as the sexy “taco truck lady” who also happens to be leading the revolution. Throw in some hilarious bit roles from Cheech Marin (Machete’s priest brother), Don Johnson (a border vigilante) and even Lindsay Lohan (a junkie rich girl, not far from Lohan’s reality), and you have quite the eclectic cast.

And of course, it’s good to see Danny Trejo get his first lead role after countless small parts over the years.

Machete [2010]

Machete is good for what it is, no doubt, but it felt like something was missing overall. It almost seemed like the movie tried to do too much at once, and lacked some overall cohesion. It’s still a lot of fun with some great action scenes and hilarious one-liners, but I can’t help but feel it could have been even better. It will be interesting to see what Rodriguez comes up with for Machete Kills, the inevitable sequel.

7/10