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Hobo With a Shotgun: Film Review

Hobo With a Shotgun
Karim Hussain

The Bottom Line

Double-barreled mayhem as if Sergio Leone designed a video-game.


May 6


Sundance Film Festival, Park City at Midnight


Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Robb Wells, Brian Downey, Jeremy Akerman


Jason Eisener


John Davies

Jason Eisener's grindhouse feature, which will be distributed by Magnet Releasing later this year, stars Rutger Hauer as a no-nonsense killer with dreams of starting a gardening business.

PARK CITY – (Park City at Midnight) Hobo With a Shotgun is not an art film.

You wouldn't probably tab it a "date movie" either, unless your date is a deviant or gore-monger. But, Hobo is perfectly placed here in the Park City at Midnight Section on Main Street. It should be a huge crowd pleaser, particularly if they've just come from the No Name Saloon down the street and are really trashed.

Down to buckshot, a grizzled Rutger Hauer hops off a train at some scum town. The place is a hellhole of sadists and whackjobs, ruled over by a snot-wad named Drake. In the shoot-em'-all tradition of The Man With No Name, Hauer starts knocking off the bad guys, not necessarily one-by-one.

A generic blast, Hobo with a Shotgun unspools like a spaghetti western but amped with enough testosterone to fill a video-game warehouse.

Like such non-jabbering, straight-shooting icons as Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson, Hauer is not much on chit-chat and seems nagged by an old problem with the bottle. He panhandles at first – "Need Cash to Buy a Lawnmower" but soon sets his sights on rightin' wrongs.

In this campy, shoot-'em-up, director Jason Eisener plasters the screen with gory imagery and wildly stylized action scenes. Blazing with a nasty neon glower and smoked with nutso action, Hobo with a Shotgun is a grindhouse hoot.

Although its numerous sadistic scenes will turn off many, writer John Davies has scattered it with odd and witty dialogue, as well as an on-target, vigilante storyline. Davies' also flecks Hobo with some unexpected sentiment and smartly bizarre monologues for Hauer. Oddly enough, Hauer really does want money to buy a lawnmower so that he can start his own grass-cutting business.

With his once blond hair turned a steely silver, Hauer is an intimidating and likable force. As the hooker-with-the-heart of gold, Molly Dunsworth wins Hauer's heart and admiration.

Tech contributions are bad-ass perfect. Cinematographer Karim Hussain charges the mayhem with electric hues, while production designer Ewen Dickson kicks in a wild blast of apt Mad Max-like settings. Costume designer Sarah Dunsworth threads together a wonderfully bizarre range of devil-ish duds, including Hauer's righteous hobo-wear.

Section: Park City at Midnight
Production: Rhombus Media, Whizbang Films, Yer Dead Prods.
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Robb Wells, Brian Downey, Jeremy Akerman, Mark A. Owen, Nick Bateman, Molly Dunsworth
Director: Jason Eisener
Screenwriter: John Davies
Story: John Davies, Jason Eisener, Rob Cotterill
Producers: Rob Cotterill, Niv Fichman, Paul Gross, Frank Siracusa
Executive producers: Mark Slone, Victor Loewy
Director of photography: Karim Hussain
Production designer: Ewen Dickson
Music: Russ Howard III
Costume designer: Sarah Dunsworth
No Rating, 84 minutes