Monday, 29 August 2011

Film Review: Hobo With A Shotgun

Tasteless, offensive, nauseating - these are just a few adjectives which could be used to describe this film. And yet, if you were anywhere near twisted enough to enjoy the likes of Planet Terror, Death Proof or Machete, Hobo With A Shotgun will be right up your ally. Excuse the pun.

A nameless drifter (Hauer) arrives in Hope Town, affectionately renamed 'Scum Town' by the locals, to find it run by a homicidal maniac called The Drake (Downey) and his two sons Slick (Smith) and Ivan (Bateman). Revolted to find that they've also bought off the police, the hobo gets an old shotgun from a pawn shop and begins dealing out the justice.

Like Machete, Hobo With A Shotgun began life super-saturated in 70s colour as a mock trailer for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodirguez's grindhouse project, Planet Terror and Death Proof. However, where Machete was disappointing to the point where all you needed to know was in the trailer, this is much better. Indeed, out of all the mock exploitation films it is probably the best, existing only to push people's buttons. Hobo With A Shotgun is unrelentingly concerned with being as offensive as it can possibly be. Name any social faux pas and it's probably exploited here. From a paedophile dressed as Santa all year round cackling as he drives round the block with an eight-year old girl in the back screaming "don't let him take me" to incinerating a schoolbus full of children, you'll certainly feel uneasy laughing in places. Is there any redeeming subtext in this film? Well maybe, if you consider that no matter how bad people seem, there's always a hobo with a shotgun ready to sweep the streets clean of evil. Then again, maybe not.

Hauer is this film's *ahem* tramp card, growling every utterance through gritted teeth. Dreaming of one day owning a lawnmower (bizarre at first, but the plot unravels), Hauer's hobo takes to indulging a bumfight-esque producer who pays him to eat glass. When he finally earns enough and trots to the pawn shop to buy the grass chopper, the hobo is witness to a robbery which finally tips him over the edge, prompting him to buy a shotgun (with unlimited ammo) instead. To add to proceedings we are introduced to 'The Plague' who are hired to take out the hobo - a duo comprising of a gasmask wearing, nazi helmet donning, leather clad fetish enthusiast and a short stubby version of the black knight from Monty Python. The sheer ridiculous of events and unabashed gore fest which ensues settles any doubt over whether any of this is to be taken seriously. However, except Hauer who appears in on it all, the rest of the unproven cast seem to be out to make a name for themselves - so much so that they don't seem to get it. Consequently Hobo With A Shotgun walks somewhat of a fine-line and if it were not for Hauer, the morality police might have even greater cause to slam this. 

Hobo With A Shotgun is sick, but it is also fun. For the mentally deranged among us you will enjoy limbs being hacked off in lawnmower blades and penis' blown off with a shotgun. What you see is what you get. It also features a great soundtrack, particularly use of Lisa Lougheed's 'Run With Us' - a song which will evoke memories of an innocent age in eighties cartoon, The Raccoons. Not now though! Not one for the morally pious.