By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060

There’s sitting through root canal surgery. There’s sitting through a tax audit. And there’s sitting through Hobo With A Shotgun.

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Take your pick.

The execrable exploitation flick Hobo With A Shotgun is a crash seminar in torture, tastelessness, and literal overkill.

It started out as a fake trailer created for a contest promoting the nostalgic thriller Grindhouse, the entertaining shlock-and-shock double-decker from directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez that included mock trailers.

Hobo With A Shotgun won that contest and thus became part of the program when Grindhouse was released in Canada. Bully for it.

But it should have stayed in that form. As a feature film, it’s so offputtingly one-note, so repelling and objectionable, so miserable and appalling a viewing experience, such contemptible pond scum, it defies description.

Not that that’ll stop me.

Veteran Dutch actor Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Sin City) plays the nameless drifter who hops off a freight train when it stops in the impossibly ugly and crime-ridden urban wasteland of Hope Town, a hopeless hellhole where the cowering residents are terrorized by the cruel local mob boss and his family and the corrupt law enforcers whom he controls.

So the title character turns himself into a one-man army, a vagrant vigilante, buys the weapon referred to in the title instead of the similarly priced lawn mower that he yearns for, and takes on all the bad guys all by himself.

Ehh, who cares?

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Jason Eisener flaunts his license to direct in the kind of artless and amateurish debut that makes you wonder how he’s allowed to walk around town, let alone be in charge of a movie.

Go ahead, let him tell you that a lot of the film’s too-muchness and over-the-topness is intentional.  Doesn’t matter. Incompetence has its own odor.

His work with his actors is certainly consistent.  Every single performer (and let the rest of them remain mercifully nameless for now) is off-the-charts awful.  And that includes Hauer.

Not that he’s worse than the others, but he gets more screen time and thus has the chance to be excruciatingly terrible for longer stretches than his co-performers in this Hauer-and-a-half of moronic mayhem.

Okay, so the movie stinks. Big deal.

Then, when I finally decided that a movie could not possibly stoop any lower, that we had hit rock bottom, that we were no longer at the bottom of the barrel but quite a way below it, a character aims a flamethrower at a group of children trapped on a schoolbus.  And the movie follows through on that action, torching it and presumably burning the children alive, and PLAYS IT FOR A LAUGH.  Nice touch.

Let’s draw a line in the sand, okay?  If this is entertainment for you, have at it.  But stay out of my neighborhood.

(Check, please!)

So we’ll shower to wash away 0 stars out of 4 for a slobberingly gory and repugnantly sadistic “thriller,” the cartoonishly grotesque Hobo With A Shotgun.

Just a Critic with a Rating System here trying to point out — and put out — the garbage.

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