Hobo with a Shotgun was pretty big in Austin when it came out. There was a standup arcade version of the promotional iPhone app game down at the Alamo Drafthouse, which I regret not getting to play. What I saw of the game looked like stylistically very similar to Double Dragon, which is to say that the game, much like the movie, was a throwback to the sort of 80s trash culture I grew up with.
This is the second spinoff movie to get produced based on the fake trailers of the Grindhouse movie. If we’re lucky, they’ll keep making more.
When asked to describe Hobo with a Shotgun, I usually summarize it as the movie that Lloyd Kaufman would have made if he had any self-awareness or talent. It has all the elements of a Troma film. Over the top bloodshed and mayhem combine with a swarm of low-rent extras that seem like they are all personal friends of the director who were given the instruction to show up to the set wearing their weirdest outfit.
There are a couple of moments that are 100% Troma. Like in the opening scene, when the evil gang boss has a guy decapitated in the street and then his stripper girlfriend writhes in the fountain of blood.
But the similarities with Kaufman’s oeuvre end with the acting. Rutgar Hauer, the titular character, brings an over-powered talent to a trashy subject. There’s a scene early in the film where he extracts a soggy cigarette butt from an old whiskey bottle, and then contemplates it for a long moment. You can see the thoughts running through the hobo’s head, the gritty analytics of a life spent riding the rails.
And the supporting cast also demonstrates the importance of having actual actors in a movie. Brian Downey, who plays the evil crime boss The Drake, turns in a fantastic performance reminiscent of Robert Vaughn (Brian Downey joins Human Centipede star Dieter Laser as an alumnus of the strictly unwatchable Lexx TV show who turns out to be a kick-ass actor).
And let’s not forget the irony. Irony is a principle as foreign to Lloyd Kaufman as moderation to a meth head. In one scene, when the hobo is well on his way to dealing out his bloody revenge, the heroine implores, “You don’t have to change the world with a shotgun.”
And the hobo replies, “But it’s the only way I know.”
Good for you, hobo, good for you.