Hobo With a Shot Gun

The B-movie energy that pulses through this grindhouse wallow is not to be denied. Hobo With a Shotgun lives up to its lurid, cheap-ass title. What you see is what you get. And what you get is Rutger Hauer, everyone's favorite Blade Runner replicant, enjoying the hell out of himself as the grizzled hobo.

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No sooner does the old bugger step off a train in the lawless Scum Town (Nova Scotia) than murdering creeps get all up in his face. The baddies think nothing of incinerating a school bus. Even Santa is a pedophile. The hobo claims he just wants to buy a lawn mower and earn money cutting grass, not a blade of which is seen anywhere in these parts. Instead, he grabs a shotgun, which comes in handier. Scum Town's leading psycho, Drake (Brian Downey), has two sons — Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) — who like to round up bums, stick their heads out of manholes and decapitate them with rope and bumper cars.

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No, Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore. Which is just how director Jason Eisener likes it. It was Eisener who created the bogus Hobo trailer for Canadian showings of 2007's Grindhouse, from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Blood gushes in surreal splendor. And Hauer, his face a definition of craggy, is killer good. He gets big laughs where you least expect them, like in a hospital nursery. This is one nutty town, also occupied by a giant octopus and a robot army. Moralists, beware. Hobo looks like a garish cartoon puked up by a filmmaker overstuffed with cheap thrills and celluloid scuzz. What's not to like?

From The Archives Issue 1130: May 12, 2011
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