Directed by Jason Eisener
Starring Rutger Hauer, Brian Downey, Molly Dunsworth
Release UK: 15 July (Cinema, DVD)
Release US: 5 July (DVD)
A full bore grand-guignol grindhouse homage (even echoed in the VHS-style poster, right), Hobo With a Shotgun is an unashamed 1980s exploitation throwback, much more in line with Rodriguez’s hilarious Planet Terror than Tarantino’s far too talky Death Proof.
Rutger Hauer is the title character, a down on his luck veteran whose only ambition is to own a lawn mower (a signifier of more contented times, much as Rosebud was for Kane). Instead, arriving in a new town that is in thrawl to crime boss Drake (Lexx‘s Stanley Tweedle, Brian Downey), he becomes an avenging angel (or demon), whose little money is spent on the title weapon.
Over-saturated colours, tuneless 1980s electro-plonk music and larger-than-life performances are all accurate to the kind of movie being evoked, as is the copious gore and dodgy morals. Character development is not the point here: it’s the unrestrained ultra-violence and the utterly unrealistic situations that count. Some of it is uncomfortable (a school bus full of kids frying to the strains of ‘Burn, Baby, Burn’), but most of it is hilarious.
Verdict: Fully loaded with laughs and gasps, Hobo With a Shotgun doesn’t outstay its retro welcome… 8/10
Brian J. Robb