Hobo With A Shotgun is currently available for rental on demand a month before it’s release date in theaters May 9th, much like Monsters did last year. Like before, I rented the movie early on so I can save you the trouble of choosing between waiting for the theater release, renting it on demand, or not at all. Find out which is best for you after the break.
Before you read further: if you are in any way squeamish of blood in movies, run. Run away and never think of this movie ever again. However, if you are the exact opposite, this movie will be orgasmic. Unlike most movies that have this level of gore, the majority of the violent scenes in this movie all have a point to it. Some are blunt, others are creative, but most of the time it’s just plain hard to look at. Not because it’s gruesome or bloody; it’s because of who’s dying and the method itself. The trailer made this very clear, so if that’s the only thing you care about, there’s plenty. It’s very bold, but sometimes too bold for it’s own good.
That’s probably one of the faults for this movie because, since the plot and characters are not in the forefront. The story itself is the usual fun western formula: a shady stranger rides into a roughed up town, he decides to clean it up on his own, attracts the worst of the town toward him, and becomes the most wanted man in the city. We’ve all seen it before. Then the movie gets creative as it develops. The mysterious stranger is a nomadic homeless man who’s got absolutely nothing to begin with besides the clothes on his back, and the setting is a poor run down city in the 1980’s, with absolutely no law enforcement. What keeps you interested is how this homeless man (who’s name is never spoken) grows and becomes a vigilante in such a bloody yet simple manner. In a way, it’s charming, but still unfulfilling.
Every important character we see is bland. What they do is interesting, but who they are isn’t. For your villain, we have your typical mob boss who is purely evil and has two sons; one he prefers over the other. They are so bland and forgettable that the two sons are almost the same. Their only motivation is to keep their fear and power so it’s not much to think about. The angelic hooker that feels compassion for the homeless man is shallow at first but grows alongside the homeless man, and gets a big character change in the end that I wasn’t completely sold on. The hobo himself probably had some mystery behind his origin, but it’s never explained, nor will you care about it. The point of the movie is how a man grows from being a small shadow to the biggest hero of a run down city. He’s really the only memorable character next to the two most dangerous villains in the movie. No, I’m not talking about the two sons or the mob boss, I’m talking about these guys.
Now, the biggest accomplishment for this movie is how it greatly captures the hideous aspect of the 80’s (no offense). It’s easy to think this movie was made back then with little details like old arcade machines and a technicolor label, which I’ll admit that one got me giddy. Aside from nostalgic reasons though, I don’t get the point of it. The filmmakers back then were doing the best they could with the limitations of their time so it’s pretty stupid to use the same limitations yourself with outdated special effects. I’m all for capturing the look and style of another age, but that doesn’t mean to downgrade your gory scenes to that age. It’s very radical in keeping the flow of the look. One second the scene looks like it came straight out of SAW, then the next it looks like a balloon exploded with fruit punch in it. I’m not sure if they’re being artistic or just plain sloppy, but I’ll go with the former.
So in the end, this movie hits hard on many levels, but then fails on others, although not to drastically that it’s not entertaining. If you like gore and 80’s movies with filled with nostalgia, see it in theaters. If you like only one of the 2, go rent it. In the end it still falls as a passable movie with few memorable characters that can’t save itself. The story is bland, but the style and detail makes up for it for only so much.