Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
★★ / ★★★★

After a homeless man (Rutger Hauer) rescued a prostitute named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) from being kidnapped, the crime lord’s sons (Gregory Smith, Nick Bateman) carved the word “scum” across his chest. Hobo, sick of the senseless violence and drugs that plagued the streets, decided he would clean up the city by shooting crooked cops, pedophiles dressed as Santa Claus, and murderers with a shotgun. Written by John Davies, Jason Eisener, and Rob Cotterill, “Hobo with a Shotgun” began with a manic energy so intense, it seemed unknowing in what to do with itself. It was proud to a grindhouse picture; terrible dialogue, laughable acting, and obvious make-up were purposely not reshot. It wasn’t afraid to show breasts for the sake of showing them, gory decapitations, and even a school bus filled with children being torched for mere shock value. Clocking in under an hour and thirty minutes, it was a lot to swallow. Unfortunately, the film only really had one joke so it felt thirty minutes too long. The relationship between Hobo and Abby wasn’t developed in a meaningful way. Having an emotional core is critical in a movie like this because the symbolic father-daughter relationship was a beacon of hope in a city ruled by demons and depressed denizens. Hobo and Abby talked about leaving the city and starting their own mowing business. It was as close as we got to learning about their motivations as a team. The rest of the scenes were fun but they quickly became convoluted. Take the men in the metallic suits. While it was very funny that they kept a giant octopus as their pet (and sparring plaything), they were tedious to watch because barely anything could stop them in their tracks. Who were they and, since they had the brain to build their own weapons, what made them decide that working for a crime lord was a good idea? We didn’t even get to see their faces. The movie started as a fake trailer for another groundhouse movie. Maybe it should have remained that way because the material was stretched way too thinly. The writers were obviously capable of making a statement. That’s why the ironic bloody violence worked. But by allowing the material to go on autopilot, it made me think that perhaps they got lazy. They should have taken more risks by exploring homeless people’s roles in our society. We see them in our streets but when we pass them, most of us pretend not to see them. We force them to take embody the role of the invisible. But hand them a weapon and they suddenly have our attention. Directed by Jason Eisener, “Hobo with a Shotgun” was a gory good time only in its first hour. It ran out of creativity over time which was reflected by a lackadaisical conclusion. Its message was obviously violence never being the answer to violence, but it didn’t need to be so obvious. The writers rested on their laurels.

3 replies »

  1. Nice review. Sound like this is basically a thumbs down for a recommendation, right? Sorry I read your explanation about your star ratings and I’m still confused. What does the second grouping of stars mean?

    • Yep, I would say a thumbs down despite some of its redeeming elements.

      Sorry to be confusing! The second grouping denotes out of how many stars. When I read other reviews that utilize a star system, it’s sometimes confusing if they just leave, for example, ★★★. Then I think, “3 stars… but out of how many?” I think (or at least I intended it to) it eliminates a bit of confusion. Thank you for asking!

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