Hobo with a Shotgun Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: July 5, 2011
- List Price: $29.98
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
This film had its beginnings in the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez collaboration Grindhouse as one of the fake trailers. Now director and co-developer on the story Jason Eisner has brought this film to life in all of its full cheesy, 80s B-movie glory. Hobo with a Shotgun is an absolute orgasmic riot of gore, over-the-top performances and exploitation, like any good, true grindhouse film should be. Unlike a lot of films that try really hard to take themselves seriously and fail miserably, turning into no more than unintentional humor or, worse yet, a dull mess, this one right from the outset is meant to be campy and it works.
Rutger Hauer plays a railroad riding hobo who lands in a town where the criminals have literally taken over, from the sadistic crime boss and his two sons that run everything, to the corrupt police force, abusive pimps and pedophile Santas, it all becomes too much for the old man to take. It bubbles over the edge when he befriends a sweet young hooker named Abby (Molly Dunsworth) who helps him out after he is brutalized by the cops and the crime boss’ two sons. The next morning, with dreams of getting out of town and starting a new life, he heads down to the local pawn shop to buy a lawn mower, only to end up in the middle of an armed robbery. Doing the only thing he knows how, he grabs the shotgun off the wall and decides he’s going to clear the streets of all the trash – one shell at a time.
Hobo with a Shotgun is gloriously perverse; a nearly perfect balance of violence, comedy, and comic book action. Hauer is pitch perfect as the badass vigilante hobo.
Hobo with a Shotgun was initially shot at 4.5K HD on a RED MYSTERIUM-X camera and it arrives on Blu-ray in a progressive, meaning, 1080p/24, AVC/MPEG-4 encodement from Magnolia under their Magnet imprint. The color of the film is purposely unrealistic and over-saturated with big, bold, an almost cartoonish or comic book-like palette and flesh tones often look rather pushed toward red as a result. Still, the film looks good. It has obviously had a quite a bit of “grain” added to it as well to impart a grittiness to the image so it doesn’t come across as a pristine, HD video presentation, and that’s a good thing. It is textured, sharp, and almost three dimensional in appearance, with strong shadow delineation and nearly flawless white levels. It really pops in high defnition.
The audio, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, is a little disappointing only because the mix is a bit schizophrenic. There are very extended lows, good smooth, natural sounding highs, clean dialogue and good utilization of the stereo imaging across the front channels. Dynamic range is also relatively wide. When it comes to use of the surround channels, however, this is where the mix falls down. At times it sounds big and ambient. Other times it goes for long stretches with barely anything going on in the surrounds, and then you’l get the odd discrete sound effect, like a motorcycle or gunshot being panned in from the rear. It makes things sound out of balance.
While I like the commentary and certainly appreciate being able to listen to the veteran actor Rutger Hauer in particular, there really is nothing much outside of that offered up here unless you consider the random behind-the-scenes “shotgun mode clips” indispensable.
Here’s a rundown of the supplements offered:
- Shotgun Mode Clips (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
- The Hobo Express
- Sweet Bricklin
- My Favorite Uncle’s Head
- The Blood Sprinkler Dance
- The Hobo
- Smashing Melons
- Flat Feet
- Drake’s Arcade
- Feeling No Pain
- Commentary with Director Jason Eisner and Rutger Hauer
- Digital Copy
The Definitive Word
Hobo with a Shotgun reminds of bad 80s direct-to-video exploitation movies, but in a good way. This could have been billed with Tarantino’s and Rodriguez’ Grindhouse as part of a triple bill and it would not have been a drop-off in quality; it would have fit in with ease. A definite winner as far as mindless popcorn flicks go.
Additional Screen Captures