Grae's Rating:


Aside from the title, kinda ho-hum.

Who's In It: Rutger Hauer, Brian Downey, Gregory Smith, Nick Bateman

The Basics: A never-named drifter (Hauer) rides the rails to a lawless town known as "Scum City," where vice runs rampant, the streets are filled with garbage, and the populace lives in terror of crime lord Drake (Downey) and his sons Ivan (Bateman) and Slick (Smith). When the drifter tries turning in Ivan to the police for the attempted rape and murder of streetwalker Abby (Molly Dunsworth) -- only to have Ivan, Slick, and the chief of police beat him up and throw him into a dumpster -- our homeless hero seeks out revenge with the help of a firearm he picks up at a pawn shop. Can the hobo with a shotgun clean up this small-town terrordome and pursue his dreams of mowing lawns for a living?

What's The Deal: OK, first off, kudos to whoever thought of the title -- it's catchy, it's evocative, and you never hear the word "hobo" anymore outside of the context of quick and easy kids' Halloween costumes, so well done there. If only the script had nearly as much creativity behind it. What should have been a rousing shoot-em-up gets tedious rather quickly, with the overacting villains and their over-the-top mayhem feeling very same-y after the first few scenes. Hauer, to his credit, commits himself fully to this silliness, but he can't carry the whole movie by himself. The filmmakers are clearly setting out to make a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek spin on splatter/revenge cinema in the vein of Grindhouse and Machete (Hobo, in fact, began life as a fake trailer in the Great White North edition of Grindhouse) but that sort of thing is harder than it looks. If you're not going to make one of these films in an energetic and creative manner, you're going to wind up making crap instead of an homage to crap.

Highway to the Danger Zone: One thing they get right here are all the '80s-movie details, from the slick-haired, Wayfarer-wearing villains to the teased-out hooker hairdos. This movie has such a strong Reagan-era vibe that I kept waiting for William Zabka to pop up and sweep the leg.

How You Can Tell It's Canadian, Eh: 1) The first person in the movie to get killed is one of the stars of Trailer Park Boys; 2) Everyone looks cold and miserable; 3) Death by hockey equipment; 4) The way that everyone but Hauer pronounces words like "house" and "either."


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