Pick a reason to balk at this spot-on, garishly threadbare paean to '80s no-budget sleaze: It apes a genre that was already creaky when its director/co-writer, Jason Eisener, was still in nappies; it's nauseatingly violent; it began life (and arguably should've finished it) as a mock trailer for faux-grindhouse gazillionaires Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez; it's Canadian. But all that is moot, because Hobo With a Shotgun exists solely to push buttons—and besides, if the sainted Roger Corman used to make movies based on nothing but a title, why can't Eisener? As its title says, Hobo concerns a nameless tramp (game and gamy Rutger Hauer) whose harsh treatment in a city ruled by an underworld honcho (Brian Downey) and his two sadistic sons (Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman) sends him on a pump-action justice spree. Searching for something redeeming among the gushing arteries, oozing innards, and cleaved noggins that are Hobo's text and subtext: At least there's a hero who looks out for society's cast-offs. Then again, the setup could also be read as an allegory of/ justification for Dubya's invasion of Iraq (think about it), but that presumes more of an engagement with the non-cinematic world than Hobo ever really displays.
Hauer's hobo just wants to drink in peace.
Opens at Varsity, Fri., May 27. Not rated. 130 minutes.