Hobo With a Shotgun

Finally got a chance to see HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, Jason Eisener’s 2011 feature-length incarnation of his cult-favorite mock trailer, and I have to admit it left me kinda cold. A shame, because I’ve got a soft spot for vigilante flicks, and I was really looking forward to this one.

Taking place in a DEATH WISH 3-styled milieu, where the streets are so infested with dangerously unhinged criminals that normal daily life becomes impossible, HOBO sets up its premise against a backdrop of pitch-black humor and threadbare satire. Yet most of the movie’s aspects–from its gleefully perverse tone and pseudo-hardboiled dialogue, to the over-reaching performances–come off as forced, as if the filmmakers were so intent on creating an instant cult item they didn’t allow its more anarchaic elements to evolve naturally from the material.

Director Eisener certainly knows his grindhouse cinema, and much of the fun of HOBO is pointing out references and influences (which, thankfully, Eisener keeps on the subtle side). But he’s also too happy to let his film be intentionally campy, with a Troma-esque sensibility that just doesn’t mesh with its slick editing and stylish cinematography.

Chalk this one up as a disappointment, even as I look forward to Eisener’s next work.


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