Film: Hobo with a Shotgun
That's about it
"I used to be like you, a long time ago. All brand new and perfect; no mistakes, no regrets. People look at you and think of how wonderful your future will be. They want you to be something special, like a doctor or a lawyer. I hate to tell you this, but if you grow up here, you're more likely to wind up selling your bodies on the streets or shooting dope from dirty needles in a bus stop. And if you're successful, you'll make money selling junk to crackheads, and won't think twice about killing someone's wife, because you won't even know it's wrong in the first place. Maybe… you'll end up like me. A hobo with a shotgun. I hope you can do better. You are the future."
— The Hobo, to a group of newborn babies
The 2011 film Hobo With A Shotgun
started out as a fake movie trailer
, but thanks to independent filmmakers from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
, it became the second Grindhouse
trailer (after Machete
) to get converted into a full film.
An elderly, nameless hobo (Rutger Hauer
) arrives in the city of Hope Town, a run-down dystopian sprawl. The Hobo only wants to eke out a humble life in the city, but thanks to The Drake (the depraved crime boss who controls the city
), urban decay runs rampant and violence has become a way of life. Tension builds as The Hobo tries to co-exist with the city-wide corruption, but when circumstances push him over the edge, he picks up a twelve-gauge and delivers bloody justice to the city's criminals.
The film's is a broad and grotesque
pastiche of the Vigilante Justice
sub-genre of exploitation cinema (represented by films such as Death Wish
), with some surprisingly subtle flourishes mixed into the outlandish mayhem.
Hobo with a Shotgun contains examples of the following tropes:
- Abnormal Ammo: One of the members of the Plague, Grinder, carries a spear gun that fires a short spear up into the ceiling, pulling along a short rope tied around any of their unfortunate victims' necks that quickly strangles them to death, essentially being a "gallows gun".
- Abusive Parents: Drake to Ivan.
- Aerith and Bob: Drake's sons, Ivan and Slick.
- Affectionate Parody: Of exploitation films, especially those focusing on revenge stories.
- The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Slick, who gleefully maims a kid who owes him money, but then shoves the poor kid's face into a pile of cocaine. That Slick would casually wander around with such a big pile of cocaine is, of course, yet another of the over-the-top touches that make this film what it is.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Slick gets a surprisingly emotional send-off when he calls his father begging for help, and they end up comforting each other before he dies.
- Anti-Hero: The hobo is a Sociopathic Hero, of the Pay Evil unto Evil variety.
- Artistic License – Gun Safety: What kind of a pawn shop keeps a loaded shotgun where anyone can grab it? Then again, considering the type of movie this is.
- Badass: The Hobo. Abbey becomes one of these too, by the end.
- Badass Biker: The Plague drive motorcycles.
- Badass Bystander: Subverted by a random doctor, who flips out and opens fire on the Plague when they first burst into his hospital. He gets gutted for his troubles.
- Badass Grandpa: The hobo, of course.
- Bad Santa: The pedophile in the Santa suit, who the hobo kills early on.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Abby gets a nasty neck wound after she's almost decapitated, and later she loses a hand. Her face doesn't suffer one bit.
- Berserk Button: The hobo doesn't like people calling Abby a prostitute, having deluded himself into believing,"SHE'S A TEACHER!"
- Big Bad: Drake.
- Bittersweet Ending: Hobo gives his life to kill Drake and ensure that the citizens who have come to his aid fire the first shots on the corrupt police force. Abby is alive but has lost a hand and spends the end of the film hysterically screaming, and the remaining Plague member claims she'll be a member of them soon. The town may live or die in the ensuing violence, but either way the tyranny of Drake's crime family has ended.
- Blasphemous Boast: Drake claims to know more about suffering than God, because when God's son died, He came back after a few days. The Hobo's response:
You're a shitty father.
- Blood Bath: One of Drake's groupies showers in the spray of blood from a decapitated neck, while writhing ecstatically.
- Blood from the Mouth: The Hobo, after chewing glass
- Blood Spattered Innocents: Oh, Abby.
- Bottomless Magazines: We never see the Hobo buy any shells, yet he never seems to run out. We do see him reload... once.
- Bus Full of Innocents: Slick torches a bus full of elementary school children with a flame thrower as a way of declaring war on the Hobo. Then brings the charred skeleton of one of them onto the evening news to make the declaration directly. Moral Event Horizon, guys.
- The Brute: Ivan.
- The Caligula: Drake
- Canada Does Not Exist: The film is Canadian and shot in Canada. However, we never learn where Hope Town is, the currency is nondescript, the police symbols aren't quite clear, and so forth.
- Cane Fu: The Hobo does quite well with his walking stick before buying his shotgun.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Lawnmower, of all things.
- Children Are Innocent: When Slick asks the school bus full of children if they like things like school and hobos, the kids cheer enthusiastically.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Everyone swears to the point of absurdity. Even emergency room nurses are screaming, "Live, you fucking whore!"
- Color-Coded Characters: Drake and his sons wear only black and white.
- Combat Pragmatist: As a person who is forced to make do with whatever he can find every day, Hobo has a talent for this. He wields his own walking stick as an effective bludgeon, weaponizes his savings in a sock and incapacitates Ivan by electrocuting him with a toaster.
- Cool Car: Drake's sons drive around in a Bricklin SV-1.
- Crapsack World: And how!
- Dead Line News: Drake and his sons invade a news broadcast, murder the newscaster, and wave a charred corpse at the camera before demanding that all the town's homeless be killed.
- Dirty Cop: There is exactly one non-corrupt cop in the movie (played by Scott Vrooman of Picnicface fame). Lampshaded in lines that made it in from the fake trailer:
Rookie Cop: At least he's only killing the dirty cops.
Dirty Cop: We're all dirty cops!
- Dragged Off to Hell: Slick, in the school bus he set on fire.
- The Dragon: Though at first they seem like Co-Dragons, Slick quickly proves more pivotal to the plot, wanting to become a Dragon Ascendant.
- Dragon Their Feet: Rip is still alive when Drake gets his come-uppance. In fact, he's never seen again after walking off during the climax.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Drake to Slick. Not so much for Ivan, though.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The eponymous hobo is never named; He even shows up in the credits as "hobo."
- Evil Duo: Slick and Ivan. Then later, the hitmen Rip and Grinder, a.k.a. The Plague.
- Evil Is Hammy: Drake and sons, as best exemplified in the first seven minutes wherein they execute Drake's brother in broad daylight with a passionate speech. Afterward?
Ivan: Go the fuck home everyone! And don't forget to wash your dicks!
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Hope Town police, who are mostly corrupt, were angered when Drake destroys Abby’s hand.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He's a hobo... with a shotgun.
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: We're taking a car ride to hell, and you're riding shotgun!
- The Faceless: Rip and Grinder, aka the Plague, whose faces are never seen beneath their metal armor.
- Fingore: Severely to Abby near the end of the film. It's more like the entire hand...
- The hobo's borderline-nonsensical parable to Abby about bears clawing the faces off people who get too close. It wasn't actually torn off, but...
- When Slick hassles the kid for the money he owes him, he's playing an arcade game called The Plague. Footage of gameplay has the player controlling Grinder.
- Forging Scene: Also involving the lawnmower.
- Genre Throwback: To old 1970s and 1980s Exploitation Film.
- Groin Attack: Repeatedly. Perhaps most notably when the hobo does this to Slick: he kills him by shooting his prick off.
- Gorn: Everywhere. Everywhere.
- Harpoon Gun: Rip's choice of weapon, used to great effect when they storm the hospital.
- Hidden Depths: When Slick is bleeding to death, he calls the Drake, (who normally treats him like a favorite employee rather than a son) and the two say heartfelt goodbyes in a shockingly human moment for both of them.
- Hobo: With a shotgun.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Abby, who apparently took to prostitution due to lack of opportunities in her crapsack town.
- Hope Spot: About halfway through the film Abby and the Hobo make plans to leave town and start a lawnmower business. Yeah, that doesn't work out.
- Humanoid Abomination: The Plague are strongly implied to be demons, and even when one of them is being vivisected by a lawnmower, we still never see anything besides his armor. They don't even have red blood.
- Improbable Weapon User: Ivan uses ice skates as both a thrown weapon and attached to his feet for kicking. Yes, it's a Canadian film all right.
- Improvised Weapon: Abby uses her arm bone against Drake, after her hand is shredded off.
- Infant Immortality: Zigzagged through the film: the Hobo manages to save the crying baby in the Pawn Shop holdup, but the children in the film usually get set on fire, as the anti-homeless rioters set a homeless mom and her baby on fire, and Slick torching a bus of children after they declare their support for the hobo.
- Karma Houdini: By the end, Rip has walked away without paying for any of the gruesome murders he's perpetrated. It's even worse in the Alternate Ending, where Abby is turned into the promised replacement.
- Kill the Poor: Invoked by the villains as a means to kill the vigilante hobo. They incite the public to do the dirty work, under the promise that not doing so will result in the villains killing a lot of children.
- Large Ham: Drake's loud, insane, theatrical style of speech qualifies him as this.
- Legacy Character: In the end, it's revealed that you have to replace a member of the Plague if you kill him. This explains how the Plague seems responsible for taking out historical personalities like Lincoln and Jesus.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The end credits are from a Canadian children's cartoon.
- Made of Iron:
- Ivan survives getting electrocuted so badly that his chin becomes charred.
- The Hobo is able to chew glass without much reaction and barely seems to notice getting a word carved deeply into his chest. He gives a rambling explanation that he can just tell the pain to go away.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Drake does this a lot.
- Narm: Like all good grindhouse tributes, this is invoked. The hobo often goes on nonsensical ice cream koans, dramatic scenes have bizarre, overwrought, terrible dialogue, and... interesting faces are made during ridiculously implausible situations.
- Moral Event Horizon: It's a lot harder to see Slick as the Draco in Leather Pants after he incinerates a bus full of children.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Rip and Grinder.
- No Name Given: The hobo.
- No Woman's Land: to a serious degree.
- Offing the Offspring: Drake shoots Ivan when Abby tries to take him hostage.
- One-Handed Shotgun Pump: In the original trailer.
- Pædo Hunt: One of the rogues gallery of scum Hobo puts down is a ludicrously disgusting man dressed in a Santa Claus costume who openly preys upon and kidnaps small children in broad daylight.
- Parental Favoritism: By this point rather obviously, Drake favors Slick over Ivan.
- Pet the Dog: Rip lights a match for the Hobo to have a smoke during his confinement by The Plague.
- Pun: One newspaper headline reads "Hobo stops begging - demands change."
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
- "I'm making a Citizen's Arrest."
- "I'm gonna sleep in your bloody carcasses TONIGHT!"'
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Actually not very common in the movie, but used to great effect in the finale.
- Psycho for Hire: The Plague, a pair of contract killers who encase themselves in metal armor, live in a castle and have some sort of giant tentacle monster as a pet. They also apparently killed Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Charles Darwin, and Jesus.
- Psycho Supporter: Drake has a gang of groupies who run around in bikinis and enjoy violence just as much as he does. One girl dances in the Rain of Blood caused by Drake's execution of his brother, and later, they cheerfully beat on a human pinata Drake was holding prisoner.
- Rain of Blood: A woman strips and dances in it. And it's in the first seven minutes!
- Reactionary Fantasy: There is an appropriately 80s-era Drugs Are Bad message that goes hand-in-hand with the film's style, and the Hobo is at least implied to be very morally old-fashioned and disgusted not just by the brutal crime he witnesses but also by the moral looseness of the town.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The opening credits music, "Liebesthema", was used forty years earlier as the theme to the movie Mark of the Devil, and the end credits music, "Run With Us", was first used as the theme to the cartoon The Raccoons.
- Refuge in Audacity: Hoo boy.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the Hobo tells Rip that Abby ain't going nowhere... Rip just leaves.
- Signature Sound Effect: Grinder's robotic hum, sounding a bit like, "Oing!"
- Shaming the Mob: Done by Abby when facing down a mob that had been torching hobos and killing them earlier. They come back to destroy the police force in the ending.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: As the hobo's hell-raising antics demonstrate.
- Shoot the Hostage: Drake does this to his own son Ivan.
- Shout-Out: The Plague dragging a coffin behind their bikes is similar to Undertaker's schtick.
- Sinister Shades: Slick and Ivan wear Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses at almost all times to match their general retro look.
- Skeleton Government: One can wonder why the National Guard hasn't arrived to evacuate everyone and burn the city to the ground.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Drake does this.
- Stylistic Suck: The Plague videogame is a retro Beat 'em Up
- Title Drop: "Maybe you'll end up like me, a hobo with a shotgun. Maybe you'll do better."
- Took a Level in Badass: Abby, who singlehandedly kills Grinder and nearly puts the Big Bad down for the count, and saves the hobo just before he's decapitated... with her goddamn forearm bone.
- Tragic Hero: The Hobo lives an incredibly harsh life and is cruelly abused by society, despite being a genuinely kind and responsible man. His bouts of vigilante justice may come across as being deranged at times but he makes the ultimate sacrifice in the name of justice and protecting those he cares for.
- The Unfavorite: Ivan just doesn't measure up to Slick even when he's the only one left, and he gets executed by his father for it, unwittingly getting the Hobo a short reprieve.
- Vader Breath: Grinder, of The Plague.
- Vigilante Man: The Hobo is so disgusted by the violence around him that he sacrifices his dream of starting a lawn mowing company to purchase a shotgun and go on a thug-murdering rampage.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
- Slick wants his father's approval and to be a fitting heir to his legacy. Drake fully encourages this.
- Ivan, The Unfavorite, who is constantly demeaned, wants to be a fitting replacement for Slick in his father's eyes.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The pawn shop robber protests that he hasn't actually hurt anyone just before the Hobo blows his head off.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Well, shotgun in this case.
Abby: You can't solve all the world's problems with a shotgun!
Hobo: It's all I know.
- When Life Gives You Lemons: Drake spins the phrase in his own hideous idiom to encourage his son.
Drake: When life gives you razor blades... you make a baseball bat. Covered in razor blades!
- World Gone Mad: Or at least, the entire fucking city.
- Would Hurt a Child: One of the pawnshop robbers is ready to shoot a baby and one of the hobo-killing townsfolk throws a molotov into a dumpster where a homeless child is living. But Slick takes the cake when heburns a busload. He then threatens to wipe out every child in the city if the Hobo isn't killed.
- Wretched Hive: Hopetown is an impossibly violent and depraved place.
- Your Head A Splode: Happens to everyone who the Hobo shoots in the head.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: After Abby kills Grinder, Rip says she has to take his place. The Hobo tells him he won't be doing that, and he walks off without a word. However, in the alternate ending, she's converted into Grinder's replacement.