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Movies From the Black Lagoon: Hobo with a Shotgun
Movies From the Black Lagoon
Hobo with a Shotgun - 2011, Rated R
By Tom Doty
A homeless man turns the tables on a corrupt town in this genre blast that heralds the arrival of a filmmaker to be reckoned with.
This future cult classic was the result of a contest that was aimed at letting amateur moviemakers shoot a short trailer for a fake genre film. The contest winner would receive inclusion of their trailer n the DVD release of the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez film 'Grindhouse." The film itself may have failed to connect with mass audiences but genre fans ate it up and were treated to a pair of fun flicks as well as the bogus trailer. Jason Eisner won the contest with his fake trailer for a Hobo opus (that is actually a mash up of "Death Wish" and 'The Emperor of the North, "an action flick that pitted a weary rail rider against a brutal conductor). The trailer proved so popular that he was offered a budget to expand it into a feature film. The result is now on DVD and totally worth your time.
You know from the cinematic opening that you are in for a treat as our hero rides a train town while the theme music, straight out of an Italian Western, accompanies the images that unfold. Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) stars as the titular character. He may not have a home, or a name, but he knows a cesspool when he lands in one. He is only in Hope Town for one day before sizing it up and the result isn't pretty. The town is corrupt to the core and at the pit of it all is 'the drake." he's a well-dressed middle-aged crazy who rocks a white disco suit and absolutely no morals or loyalty. When we first see him he is having his brother executed in public and he even puts a new spin on the guillotine by having his victims heads; shoved through a manhole cover while a wire nose is attached only to be tied off to a van that drives off at thirty miles per hour.
Our hero isn't happy with the rest off the town either. It turns out that the local police are in Drake's pocket and are so busy committing criminal acts that they are often late to crime scenes. Things come to a boil when they mess with a prostitute, named Abby, when she takes in our home-deprived hero.
The Drake sends his psychotic sons to teach our hero a lesson but all they learn is that our hobo can dish out the pain as easy as an all night soup kitchen. It all comes down to a duel to the death in front of the whole city. It's a ripper of a climax that sees head explode like ripe melons and a whole mess of down trodden folks rise up against a common enemy. It may not be 'Spartacus" but it is great stuff nonetheless.
This all works thanks to beautiful visuals and an eclectic cast. Hauer is perfect as the bum with no name. He manages to capture the bizarre cadence of speech that a man with limited contact would suffer form. He also makes the character somewhat noble and a little odd. It is a high wire act but he manages dance without one misstep. A film like this also need s good villain and Brian Downey9Lexx) is just that as "The Drake." I'm a sucker for a villain who is so megalomaniacal that he refers to himself in the third person.
The real star here is Eisner, who also co-wrote the film. He manages to work in real issues (like those appalling "bum fights" videos) with to handing out hankies. He has a firm hand on the exploitation elements here but b=never forgets that characters come first and he crafts two that you come to care about with the Hobo and Abby.
Best Lines: "When life hands you razor blades you make a baseball bat covered with razor blades."
"Summon the Plague. Tell him to bring me that hobo."
"They're gonna make comic books out of my hate crimes."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.