Hobo with a Shotgun, one of the most irresistible movie titles of 2011, began life as an entry in a “Grindhouse Trailer Contest” co-sponsored by the SXSW Film Festival and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. So we shouldn’t be surprised that the finished feature by director Jason Eisener energetically stabs what it dangles and blows up what it can’t crush. Sissies are advised to please stay home.
At 67, Rutger Hauer still has the fire in his eyes. He plays a homeless wanderer without a name who hitches a train ride to the worst town in the world, a place so bad that even the cops are involved in dope dealing, prostitution, and shakedowns — good thing this is fiction and would never happen in real life, right? A father-and-sons team of nasties named Drake (actors Brian Downey, Nick Bateman, and Gregory Smith) runs the place, profiting from all manner of foulness, but the Hobo is initially inclined to steer clear of them.
What prods him into vengeful action is a lawn mower. To the Hobo, a worn-out manual lawn mower he spies in a dingy second-hand store represents the life he once led, tending to domestic chores with his family. The Drakes and their fellow debauchees have destroyed that normalcy, so our man takes up arms to rectify the situation. No end of splatter jokes and assorted grossness, shot on location in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and obviously a Canadian plot to corrupt our morals. But it’s good to see Hauer get that Roy Batty look on his face again.