This is a film about a hobo with a shotgun. He has a heart of gold. He’s also played by Rutger Hauer. This hobo battles with a variety of people in a dystopic future. They include two mid-20s, white-clad, Americana-obsessed teenage maniacs, their father the Drake (Brian Downey) and two goofily-robotic demons of death. In case you weren’t aware of it already, the future looks like this:
I’m still a bit unclear why all futures are either slick and white, dark and smoky, or graffiti and trash filled. Clearly, Hobo With A Shotgun fits into the latter.
There are plenty of claims you can make about this being an appropriate and intentional satire: for one, it’s over-the-top but still maintains production value. Secondly, it features a cast of characters who could be representative of some greater whole in today’s society: oversexed, over-drugged teenagers getting off only on violence, an amateur videographer shooting homeless people degrading themselves, middle-class people controlled by a tyrant who then turn on the homeless, children as a target, a prostitute with ambitions to get out of her situation, etc.
But Hobo is a lot more fun as a straight up B-movie, fitting into an interesting recent “movement” (in “” because I don’t quite think that that’s the correct word) of films not only paying trash-homage, but finding a B-film audience, with societal concerns, but more interested in recalling a grindhouse/independent/low-budget narrative from the 60s and 70s. Corman would be proud.
What makes Hobo so fun is a) the performances are good, particularly Hauer’s; b) the quotes, which include, “I’m going to wash off my blood with your blood,” and “when life gives you razor blades you make a baseball bat…with razor blades,” c) the ridiculous gore, which is half-camp, half-horror (actually, mostly camp) that isn’t as concerned with one-upping in terms of new deaths ala Saw, but more interested in absurdity like manhole-decapitations.
All of this being said, Hobo might not be a lot of people’s cup o’ tea. But if you can handle some obviously fake gore and like your quotes quotable, then this is for you. In a lot of ways this is what I wanted Repo: The Genetic Opera to be. Yeah, they’re completely different films, but both approach their material with tongues in cheek and aspirations to still actually make a good film. Rubber fits into this category, too. But I think this is the best of the bunch.