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.
-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.