Hobo with a Shotgun

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Hobo with a Shotgun

He's a guttersnipe, all right. But it takes a little time for the rail-riding antihero (Hauer) of Jason Eisener's gory, frequently amusing grindhouse pastiche to get his hands on a sawed-off. After arriving in decrepit Hope Town ("FUCK" is graffitied over "HOPE" on the city-limits welcome sign---nasty!), the nameless Hobo tries to mind his own business, saving up coins to buy a $49.99 lawn mower and start a landscaping business. Yet what good are pipe dreams when Hope is ruled by a tyrant like Drake (Downey), whom we meet when he and his psycho sons rip a guy's head off with a barbed-wire noose? Did I mention the victim is Drake's brother? Even bloodlines leave literal blood lines in this urban wasteland. But it isn't until the Hobo meets good-natured streetwalker Abby (Dunsworth)---whom Drake's boys often abuse---that his (admittedly fucked-up) conscience kicks in. Guess what else retails for $49.99?

The sight of Hauer going postal with a double-barreled blaster is about on par with Liam Neeson mowing down Albanian sex traffickers in Taken---in other words...kerfawesome! And even as the movie herky-jerks among sights that are clever, moronic or numbing (the killing of a child-molesting Santa Claus somehow manages to be all three at once), Hauer brings a consistently moving, Mickey Rourke--comeback level gravitas to the role. Two monologues---one in which the Hobo compares himself to a bear, the other a Travis Bickle--like screed delivered to a roomful of increasingly distressed babies---are damn near Shakespearean. It's a shame the performance is contained in a Z-movie patchwork that's a bit too knowingly repugnant.

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By: Keith Uhlich

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