4 years and 3 days ago, a film was released that proved to be one of the best movie going experiences that I've ever had. The film was 'Grindhouse'. It was a fun ride that lasted several hours and the entire audience was involved, not something that is seen too often these days. One of the fun little side effects of that film was the 'faux' trailers that were at the beginning and middle of the films. Robert Rodriguez's trailer for 'Machete' has already been made into a full length movie and released to some pretty good reviews. One of the other trailers was a fan-made one that only played in certain cities.... it was called 'Hobo With A Shotgun'.
It was a sweet little piece of heaven written and directed by a gentleman named, Jason Eisener. Due to the reception of this 2 minute opus, Mr. Eisener was given the greenlight to make a full length version. I had the pleasure of seeing it last night and I have to say, I loved it! I can't think of the last time I saw a Rutger Hauer movie that I enjoyed. I also wasn't sure that this concept could carry a full one and a half hours and still be worthwhile.... I was wrong.
Today it seems like studios are cranking out remakes and reboots and very little original material. And when it is original, it's not always 'original' if you know what I mean? That's what made 'Hobo With A Shotgun' so damn fun! Not only was it original, but it was truly an original concept and one that was so incredibly simple that it was genius. It just proves the point that there are new ideas still out there in Hollywood and you don't have to create the next 'Star Wars' saga to make a good piece of cinema. What I mean is that this is a film, literally, about a hobo with a shotgun. No more, no less. You don't have to find a deeper meaning, although I think there is one here.... you can just sit back, eat some popcorn, root for the vigilante and check your brain at the door. You get as much or as little out of this film as you want. It's not begging for your approval, it just is what it is. It's chock full of blood, guts, gore, violence, comedy, one-liners, 70's style cheese, pretty ladies, nasty villans, gritty cinematography, big guns and a hero for the new age. I may be heaping way too much praise on something so basic, but I had so much fun watching this from the get-go that I can't help but want to pass the joy along to anyone else who'll listen. This film is an example of why I love film and why I love to write about film.
The plot? Read on....
An unamed hobo wanders into town on a railroad car. What he finds is a town in ruins. The law is currupt, criminals are everywhere, money is scarce, people are willing to do anything for a dollar and there is little to no hope of a future. The few people that still have a good heart are forced to do terrible things or are so afraid of the bad guys that they have to hide. Despite all of this depression and gloom, our hero only wants to get enough money to buy a lawnmower and make a decent living cutting peoples grass. After he wittnesses one too many violent crimes, he decides that he's had enough and he has to step in. So while being held up at a pawn shop, he takes down a shotgun off the wall (that he eventually pays for) and proceeds to blow away the three criminals that are robbing the place. From this point forward, he's out to clean up the town one shell at a time. Along the bloody path towards redemption, he meets a good hearted prostitute and she befriends him. Meanwhile, the head villan turns the entire town against him by having them all go out to kill the hobo.... not just the one hobo, but all the hobo's, just in case. Things go from bad to worse as two hired killers get involved and things turn into a bloody battle for justice. What happens in the end? You'll have to find out for yourself! Watch, 'Hobo With A Shotgun'.... Rated R.
If you decided to delve into this film, think 'Mad Max' meets 'Death Wish'. Rutger Hauer turns up the intensity factor in this film.... all the way to 11. As a matter of fact, this entire film is at an 11, the whole time. It starts out with a 5 minute intro that lulls you into a comfortable place, but then all hell breaks loose and it doesn't let up for another hour and a half. I felt exhausted by the time it ended, but in a 'cigarette after sex' kind of way. Something that you may be thinking by the simple plot is that this can't have a good script, you would be wrong. I don't know how Jason was able to pull something so smart out of something so basic, but he does. I also figured that the acting would be sub-par since this is a kind of throwback to a simple time, I was wrong there too. Everyone in this film turns in a quality performance. It's as good as anything that you'll see in a "serious" film. This might just mark the return of Rutger Hauer and the rise of Molly Dunsworth. I can only hope that the critical reviews of this film are as glowing as mine, however I kind of doubt that everyone will see this the way I did. Hell, maybe you won't even agree with me about this. I just hope that if you do watch this little gem, please have an open mind and a clear head.... that's all I ask. Also, make sure you have a strong stomach, this has some VERY graphic content. Lots of blood and things being broken or ripped off of bodies. That's about all I have to say, I guess. Let me just sum this review up by saying that I give this a rare 5 out of 5 star rating. It deserves nothing less than that and I cannot wait to see what Jason Eisener has coming out next. That and I want to see where this takes Rutger Hauer. Even if neither of them do anything else for the rest of their lives after 'Hobo With A Shotgun', this film will stand as a testament to all that is right with filmaking and all that is wrong with the world.
Since there are no other films that I want to relate to this, I'll leave you with the classic speech from this film:
Hobo: [to a group of newborn babies] "I used to be like you. A long time ago. All brand new and perfect. No mistakes, no regrets. People look at you and think of how wonderful your future will be. They want you to be something special, like a doctor, or a lawyer. I hate to tell you this, but if you grow up here, you're more likely to wind up selling your bodies on the streets, or shooting dope from dirty needles in a bus stop. And if you're successful, you'll make money selling junk to crackheads. And don't think twice about killing someone's wife, because you won't even know it's wrong in the first place. Maybe... you'll end up like me. A hobo with a shotgun."
Side note: This film has officially been added to my list as one of my top 50 films of all time. Nuff' said.