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Hobo With a Shotgun (2011)

by on July 19, 2011
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Looking for a revenge film that reaches new heights of gleeful depravity, boiling the profane, disgusting and horrific into a rancid stew of meat and cheese?

“Hobo With a Shotgun” is a good place to start.

The title character is played by Rutger Hauer, a schlock fixture from generations past. He’s a homeless man who arrives in a town where a lunatic named Drake (Brian Downey) rules with an iron fist, where prostitution isn’t so much rampant as dominant and where Drake’s sadistic sons (Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman) run wild, asserting their perverse will upon the populace.

Disgusted by what he sees, the Hobo finds a shotgun in a pawn shop, stops a robbery and goes on a shooting spree that leaves scores dead, more maimed, and still more traumatized.

It’s not “Falling Down,” it’s “Falling Down Under a Train Carrying Dynamite and Glass Shards.”

This is the kind of film in which the bad guys aren’t afraid to take a flamethrower to a school bus full of kids, laughing the maniacal hyena laugh of the batshit insane all the while.

The kills in this film are among the more morbidly creative you’ll ever see; at one point, three naked men are gathered around a man hanging upside down, beating him with bats, laughing psychotically, when Drake ends the man’s suffering by taking a bat spiked with razor blades to him.

Stab wounds open like shotgun blasts; shotgun blasts explode like grenades. Villains use barbed-wire nooses, hand saws, modified manhole covers (along with a manhole they call the “Glory Hole”), and samurai swords to kill. It’s controlled anarchy, chaos on celluloid and an instant classic of grindhouse sadism.

Call it a sensationalist treatise of societal degradation if you will, and you’d be right. But this is also a disasterpiece of schlock cinema — a tongue-in-cheek indictment of low-rent ’70s cinema.

Hauer turns up the ham so much you can smell the pineapple glaze, delivering lines through gritted teeth and sounding and looking like a low-rent Clint Eastwood.

This is the kind of movie where a woman will have her hand obliterated in a metal fan blade, then turn around and stab her tormentor to death with the gnarled bone that’s left. Yes, this actually happens, and it’s somehow not the craziest thing that happens in this film.

Director/co-writer Brian Eisener deserves kudos for going all out, not only for coming up with stuff that most people wouldn’t dare imagine, but also in actually getting those moments into his film.

“Hobo With a Shotgun” is film-school viewing for lovers of depraved cinema, perhaps the holy grail of modern grindhouse filmmaking. Let’s put it this way: if Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez got together to make a crazy two-part movie called “Grindhouse”… well, this movie would still be better than both of those.