Hobo With A Shotgun

Being one of the few people who caught Grindhouse in the theatre (and I mean few here, it’s a fucking travesty that a theatre experience as epic as Grindhouse was missed by so many, you really missed out if you didn’t go), twice actually, I got the opportunity to witness the original contest winning trailer by Jason Eisener for Hobo With A Shotgun.  For once, cinematically speaking anyway, it was good to be in Canada (the Americans south of the border missed out big time).  Then I found out that Hobo With A Shotgun wasn’t just going to stay as a fun fake movie trailer, but was going to be a full length feature film, and with Rutger fucking Hauer in the lead role!

To say I was stoked by this news would be a severe understatement indeed as I loved the trailer, and I’ve been a fan of Hauer since the glory days of the 80’s/early 90’s watching classics like Blind Fury, Split Second, Ladyhawke and of course Bladerunner (though admittedly my full appreciation for the latter didn’t really  come in until I got older) again and again as a kid.  But at the same time I had the sobering thought that there was very little chance a movie like this would ever make it into Saskatoon theatres and would only do a limited run at the festivals before being dumped on to home video.  Fast forward to early this week, and I discover that Hobo with a Shotgun is playing in my city at a fucking Cineplex Odeon Cinema no less!  My reaction to this news:


So, was Eisner able to transform 2 minutes of trailer awesomeness into a full length movie?  Abso-fucking-lutely friends.  This is the type of movie that has been sorely lacking in cinemas of late (with the exception of gold like Machete).  It’s 100% balls to the wall, over the top exploitation, Canuck style!  This movie has everything I want to see in a movie: hardcore violence and gore, insanity, people being blown away with a shotgun repeatedly, nudity, ultra foul language (you just don’t see many movies dropping lines like “you look like a fuck tube” or “today’s a great day for a skate rape!”), extreme bad taste, kids getting killed, Ricky from trailer park boys with a gory cameo,  villains dressed up like an evil combination of The Road Warrior and the mechanical man from Return to Oz, and of course Rutger’s awesome performance as a haggard bum who’s not “all there”.  In short, it rules!

I really dig the look of this movie.  Eisner definitely elevated this movie above what was surely meagre funding with an awesome use of an ultra vibrant Technicolor style palette (it even says “Color by Technicolor” during the 70s style opening credits, although I think it might be a gag as this was shot digitally and I don’t think Technicolor really applies there, although maybe they’re involved in the film prints for the theatrical presentation, I dunno), a nice gritty 16mm style grain structure, and really great use of lighting.  We’re talking Dario Argento style over the top with the coloured lighting, and it perfectly suited this movie’s so-insane-it’s-almost-a-cartoon style.  This is definitely a step up from the original contest winning trailer and his follow up short film Treevenge (which is also awesome by the way, track that shit down!).

Special effects are cheesy, but not too cheesy, so they still pack some good gross out factor.  The style used actually reminded me of Bad Taste more than it did say, a Troma film, which was kinda refreshing and I dug that.  You get TONS of gore in this movie.  In fact the movie has so much murder and mayhem I’m fucking amazed it made it to theatre screens intact.  Heads are ripped off, people are blasted apart, limbs are ground up, people are stabbed to death, beaten with baseball bats covered in razor blades, hung, forced to eat glass, and more.  Good times.

The acting was uniformly quite good.  Everyone was completely over the top, but it absolutely suited the tone of the movie.  I really got a kick how many of the actors’ East Coast accents came through in their performances and it gave the movie a unique language in a sea of low budget schlock.  Rutger was perfectly cast in this film, and even though in a way I feel kinda bad for the guy who originally played the Hobo in the contest winning trailer, I think it was a good choice to put a recognizable name in the movie to help it get some production backing and push in the distribution end of things.  Also, the guy from the fake trailer gets a sweet cameo busting one of the funnier lines from the trailer, so that was cool.  I hope he maybe gets to do so more in a later movie from Einer, because I would really like to see him keep going with his insane style of moviemaking.  We need more guys willing to just say fuck it, and make the movies they want to see instead of lick corporate bung hole and remake movies that don’t need to be remade for a guaranteed profit.  Bah to that.

I also really liked Brian Downey as the villain Drake.  His accent came through the most, and it just made him that much more of a cool villain.  To compare him to another movie villain I would say he reminded me a little bit of the real big prick from Snatch, Brick Top.  Grind some fresh Brick Top beans, run through a filter made of Clockwork Orange and add sweetner of Beachcombers for taste.  He was such a grease ball psychopath that it fit this movie like a glove.  His kids in the movie, Slick and Ivan also rocked, and reminded me of the crazy jock psychopaths from the original Toxic Avenger.  Over the top, but that’s what I wanted.  And Rutger?  Like I said, perfect.  I liked how he managed to capture the essence of the crazy homeless guy out for vengeance but never came across like he was trying too hard.  It all felt very natural, and surprisingly believable.  He gets this sweet sweat shirt with a picture of a bear on it (you know the kind of crappy shirt you’d find at Value Village and you can tell it’s been there since 1988) and then tells a story about the mysteries of bears and their “magical circles” you don’t want to enter or the bear will maul you.  Then he goes into detail about how a bear claw will rip your face off and how bears become man eaters once they get a taste for blood.  Do you see what I’m talking about here?  Excellence.  But then, I’ve always found Mr. Hauer to elevate even the trashiest of movies with his performances (see Omega Doom to get an idea of what I mean).

In closing, GET OFF YOUR ASS AND GO SEE THIS MOVIE THIS WEEKEND!!!  The theatre was appallingly empty for the first show on opening night and I have a feeling not many people will go to see this, either because they haven’t heard of it, or they think something called Hobo with a Shotgun is going to be stupid.  Those people need to pull the rods out of their asses immediately and give this movie a shot.  Here in Saskatoon it’s playing at Centre Cinemas, and it’s only $6.50 to see a movie there, so you have no excuse.  Even if you’re homeless, pull out that sock of quarters and get your ass down to the theatre.  The more people who see it means the more movies like it that will get greenlit.