New on DVD: Hobo with a Shotgun

By Robert B. DeSalvo

Rutger Hauer delivers a worthy performance in this celebration of sleaze.

Director: Jason Eisener Rating: Unrated Studio: Magnolia

With superheroes letting us down in theaters lately (think Green Lantern), it is high time for a hero of the streets to rise up on home video and fight the summer blahs with some rousing ‘70s-style grindhouse cinema. The man for the job is clearly Rutger Hauer, who plays the grizzled, fed up eponymous character in Hobo with a Shotgun, which is based on a fake trailer used to promote the Grindhouse double feature back in 2007.

The hobo rides into Hope Town—vandalized to read “Scum Town"—on a freight train and discovers a lawless city lorded over by the Drake (Brian Downey) and his two sadistic sons, Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick (Gregory Smith), who look like the embodiment of what would happen if you fed frat boys crack for every meal. Slick tries to kill a young hooker named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) for mouthing off to him, but the hobo beats him with a bag of coins and she escapes.

The hooker with a heart of gold and the hobo then bond at her place and share each other’s dreams—she wants to be a teacher and he wants to buy a lawnmower and start his own business. When the hobo’s attempt to buy a lawnmower is interrupted by thugs robbing the pawn shop, our homeless hero snaps, grabs a shotgun and starts blasting away society’s filth one shell at a time. Gleefully violent headlines like "Parents Smile as Bodies Pile” scream out from the newspapers, which infuriates the Drake and puts a price on the hobo’s head. Can Abby and her hobo savior escape and start anew?

With its over-saturated colors, gratuitous gross-out violence and outrageous characters, Hobo with a Shotgun is a loving homage to the midnight movie era from which it draws inspiration. Hauer—who has appeared in cult favorites such as Blade Runner and Ladyhawke—is the beating heart of Hobo and you’ll root for him on his macabre mission. Dunsworth is also terrific as the prostitute just trying to survive, but the men who play the Drake and his sons come across as too cartoonish and their obnoxious scene-chewing might make you reach for your own shotgun. Don’t shoot the TV, though, because Hauer dishes out enough justice and bloody fun to make this celebration of sleaze worth watching.

Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray commentary tracks, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a making-of featurette, video blogs, an HDNet special and “A Faux Trailer Contest Winner.”


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