Review: Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

I’m not really sure that I can adequately describe the chicanery in Hobo with a Shotgun. However, I can say this much- if “What the Fuck!!!” was a category, it would walk away with an Oscar. Here are my general thoughts about this little slice of exploitation heaven:

-It plays out much like if Tom Waits re-booted the Batman franchise, complete with hobo heroes, cartoonish villains, and even a metal guy who sounds like Waits. He’s part of a metal-clad duo known only as “The Plague”. And the “Robin” half of the vigilante duo in this film? She’s a prostitute, one of several in the movie.

Hobo with a Shotgun is extremely over the top in a really fun and amusing fashion. There’s gore galore in just about every way you can imagine- hanging bodies, lawnmowers, decapitation in a very creative way, severed body parts, death by flamethrower, machetes, glass chewing, and–of course–shotguns.

-But the way that it’s over the top certainly isn’t limited to the gore. I don’t know how many times I caught myself laughing and thinking “WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST SEE?!?!” We all know that if you’re watching this film, you’re watching it with the intention of seeing a hobo. And you want to see him wielding a shotgun. But would you expect a giant octopus? No. How about a bus that transports a particularly evil character to hell? Probably not. How about two giant metal demons? And on and on.

-The over-the-top nature of the film consumes the dialogue. There are countless examples of this, but I’ll give you this ludicrous (and fun/funny) sample:

Prostitute: You can’t solve all of the world’s problems with a shotgun.
Hobo: It’s all I know.

Uh… yeah.

-Rutger Hauer is fantastic as the title character (you know, the hobo with the shotgun). He’s part Boudu (Boudu Saved from Drowning), part Blondie (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), part Batman, and completely hell-bent on vengeance to restore his vision of the proper world order.

In the end, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this film. It’s goofy and ironic and deconstructivist with hipster aplomb, taking on grindhouse, exploitation, and 80’s vengeance films with both barrels blazing (pun intended). If nothing else, I want other people to see this so I can nudge someone else and ask, “Dude, did you just fucking see that?!?!” Call it 3.5 stars out of 5.


17 Comments

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17 responses to “Review: Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

  1. John doing a review? Cool!!!

    I have this to watch you know, although I have been putting it off for some reason….oh yeah it is because someone got me hooked to Breaking Bad….I am looking at you John!!

    Great right up though, as Tyler says…..sounds like ….fun!!

    • Definitely fun. I like to think of it this way- if you’re watching a movie called “Hobo with a Shotgun”, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect. And as long as you have that expectation (and aren’t expecting a “good” movie), then I don’t think you can go wrong.

  2. Kelly

    Sounds like a good flick to watch when you’re drunk.

    • It is definitely that.

      I also tend to think that if I’d seen this when I was 19 or 20 (and was probably drunk, because that’s most of what I did when I was 19 and 20), I would’ve thought this was the coolest movie ever made.

  3. Shan Jago

    Man, I dunno…Anything with a giant Octopus has got to be great.

  4. nimorphi

    It is definitely not Citizen Kane, but I was highly entertained by the complete ridiculousness of it and that is what the movie was going for. i liked who they took the absurdity of the world and just ran with it. It was good the director did not try to make it more than what it was and made it to its full grindhouse-ness that it could be.

  5. Is this considered a B-reel? I thought it was strange how fresh it was on RT, but then saw it and it had some very nice touches, good “action” and indeed wtf-moments. I really dug the angles too, some very much Western influences in it. The opening scene is crazy!

    • I wrestled with that question so much as I was watching it. It felt so goofy and “bad”… but I couldn’t tell just how much of it was purposely bad (and it was “bad” in a really great, fun way). And if it’s on purpose, does that make it a B-movie? I really have no clue.

  6. Wheelsdude

    I just watched it, as I had always wanted to, but when I saw you reviewed it on your site, it drove me to take action and actually watch the film. Like Machete before it, since it came from a trailer that was part of the Grindhouse film, I went to youtube first and watched the “fake” trailer, where someone entirely different from Rutger Hauer was playing the hobo. However, they pretty much used every scene in the trailer (word for word) just like they did for Machete.

    The utter ridiculousness of this movie was fantastic. From the over the top bad guy (The Drake – he’s called “The Drake”. WTF?) to the sheer ludicrousness of its plot, to the fact that George Stroumboulopoulos, a prominent media figure here in Canada, makes a cameo and (spoiler alert!) gets killed with an ice skate. Loved it!

  7. Stu

    I need to see this movie so terribly. I love Rutger Hauer, I love the title, and there are free, legitimate full-versions floating around all over the web. Can I lie and say I’ve been busy?

    • I’m already ready to see it again just so I can verify that I really did see what I thought I saw.

      I also have a hunch that time will make me like this one even more. I had a damned good time watching it.

  8. I just watched this this past Sunday morning while doing some laundry. What an extremely bad – and yet oh-so-fun movie. My favorite line:

    “Lock him up with the sodomites and get me the goddamn chief of police!”

    I probably wouldn’t have wasted my time with it, but after reading your review last month, I couldn’t help myself.

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