I remember seeing the mock trailer for "Hobo with a Shotgun" around 2007 (as does everyone else), thinking to myself "Holy shit, this would be an awesome movie!" Then it was announced that it was going to be a movie, with Rutger Hauer as the main hero. I was thrilled by the idea, but also weary, as it sounded too much like a good thing. Well, lo and behold, it's on DVD and Blu-Ray after a theatrical and on-demand run, so how does it add up?
Our unnamed, homeless hero comes to a small town ridden by crime, murder, prostitution, drug peddling and other such unpleasantness, that is ruled over by a psychopathic crime king known as Drake (Brian Downey) and his sadistic sons Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick (Gregory Smith.) After an attempt at trying to bring justice fails, the hobo soon realizes that his dreams of owning a lawnmower and living a calm, peaceful life are nil, as are any chances of justice in this town. So after obtaining some money, he decides to cash in on a shotgun to dispense justice.
Things now start looking up a bit, as the streets are suddenly safer, the town loves him, and he's even befriended a hooker with a heart of gold in Abby (Molly Dunsworth.) Well, great for everyone except for Drake, who along with his sons, hatches a plan to rid the town of this hobo once and for all, even if it means calling in two ruthless killers known only as "The Plague."
Well, here's a rarity: a movie that actually lives up to its initial promise. "Hobo with a Shotgun" is a deliriously gory, blackly comic ride that rarely if ever manages to bore the viewer. That's largely because the movie is so well made, with a great electronic score, excellent cinematography by Karim Hussein, excellent use of saturated colors, wonderful effects, and an ability to mix humor and homage with a sense of pathos. The pathos themselves come mostly from Hauer, who plays the role straight, and creates a character who remains sympathetic throughout. Here's a guy that loves this town he's now in, and wants a better life for it, even if it doesn't want him around. It's through him that the film serves as something of an indictment towards society's apathy and cruelty to it's homeless.
Fortunately, Hauer isn't the only good performance here. Dunsworth is great as the hooker with a heart of gold archetype, and manages to transcend that perfectly by making her a bit of a tough gal herself. Meanwhile, Downey is gloriously over the top as our main villain, while Smith and Bateman are awesome as his evil as hell sons, sporting crass one liners ("Whose ready for a skate rape?!") Seriosuly, these guys come off as Marty McFly's evil lost brothers. Oh, and I can't go without mentioning The Plague. While most movies of this type try and fail to create memorable bad-ass villains like this, The Plague are something else-clad in armor, wielding an array of deadly weapons, fucking up everything in their path, and being imposing in the process. The movie really deserves kudos for this.
So, is this worth seeing? If you enjoy gore and love gallows humor and action with a social message that never gets rammed in via a sledgehammer approach, then yes, you should see this. If not-well, then why are you reading this review anyway?