Hobo with a Shotgun Blu-ray Review
Hobo with a Shotgun comes to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray complete with a 1080p High Definition video presentation, in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen, which actually makes it one of the better-looking recent grindhouse flicks. Sporting none of the usual trademark fake scratches and pops that the original Tarantino/Rodriguez double-bill had, it actually looks like quite impressive. That’s not to say that it is not heavily stylised, indeed it is: at times feeling like it was shot by Tony ‘Man on Fire/Unstoppable/Taking of Pelham/Deja Vu’ Scott whilst he was busy tripping on acid – and before he got the chance to take it to the editing suite. The colours are garish in the extreme, bright and vivid, the nights bathed in neon, the daytime splayed with bright red blood, strong yellows, rich blues – there is no holding back when it comes to colours in the presentation. An extremely gritty print, there’s no noise, per se, other than that which is intended to give the image its new-but-worn look. Heavily saturated, but with strong black levels, there was no way that this was ever going to be a demo quality presentation, but, that said, it is pretty good nonetheless – and clearly looks exactly as the filmmakers intended.
On the aural front we get an equally impressive DTS-HD Master Audio track which growls and stomps around, again looming in the general direction of demo quality, even if it sometimes seems too blunt to attain it. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely emanating from across the fronts and centre channels. The effects are myriad, and come from the least likely places; the more violent blunt-force-trauma boasts some suitably over-the-top slice and dice noises, body blows and dismemberment sounding as extreme as it looks. There are also the pivotal shotgun blasts, as Mr. Hobo wreaks havoc with his own particular brand of justice, and these echo deep into the array, thundering across your living room with a true furore. Still the inherent limitations of the production do eventually creep in, and however good this track is, it simply can’t stand up to comparison with all the best, most immersive, expansive offerings out there.
In terms of extras we get exactly the same thoroughly comprehensive package that adorned the US Region A-locked release a little while back. It comes brimming with just about every single bit of background information that you would like from this production.
Shotgun Mode is a PiP track which allows you access various clips from the making of this production – no less than 44 in total, which makes it one of the most all-encompassing PiP tracks that I have come across recently. For those who don’t want to sit through the movie again, you can watch all of these Behind the Scenes clips separately from the menu, in what amounts to a whopping 104 minutes of background material – longer than the main feature itself!
There are two Commentaries, the first is a more engaging, cordial track in which the Director sits down to chat to Mr. Hobo himself, Rutger Hauer, whilst the second is a far more technically proficient offering, but considerably more dry as well, which features the Director coupled with the Writer, the Producer and the man who played the original Hobo in the faux trailer. Check out the first track first, and then see how you go from there.
The Making of Hobo with a Shotgun is a mammoth 45 minute Documentary, which further charts the background to the production, from back when they did the faux trailer to the final finished product they have here. A comprehensive piece, it somehow manages to avoid too many overlaps with the Shotgun Mode mini-featurettes, and offers up plenty of background information for fans to lap up. There’s also a really short 3 minute Camera Test Reel featurette which takes us behind the test footage from the Red One Digital camera used to film the movie.
Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending
Here we get 6 minutes of Deleted Footage, which comprise two unused scenes together with a montage of otherwise culled footage. The Alternate Ending is nothing particularly unexpected, introducing us to the latest member of The Plague – you may have guessed this from the end of the movie anyway, but it is at least nice to have it confirmed here.
Interviews and Blogs
We get no less than 9 short video blogs as well as 45 minutes of Fangoria Interview clips with the Director, as well as the lead actor Rutger Hauer. If you haven’t had enough already, then there’s even more on offer here, but be wary that things start to overlap a little bit, and you may find that some of the material has been covered elsewhere, not least on the first Commentary.
HDNet: A Look at Hobo with a Shotgun is a fairly standard 5 minute promo, only with the added inclusion of interview footage with the Director and with Rutger Hauer.
Grindhouse Trailer Contest Winner: Hobo with a Shotgun takes you right back to the original faux trailer which won the competition and spawned this whole project.
Hobo with a Shotgun Faux Trailer Contest Winner: Van Gore showcases a brand new faux trailer for a weird but semi-interesting idea; perhaps no more films from faux trailers please...
Trailers round off the disc – both preview trailers on disc startup, and a whole assortment of trailers for the main feature itself.
Enough with these grindhouse flicks already. I think that the idea is well and truly rinsed, and I'm not even sure it was that great an idea to begin with. The latest in the ever-expanding line of steadily-declining-in-quality modern grindhouse productions, following Death Proof, Planet Terror and Machete, is the full-length adaptation of the faux trailer from the first Grindhouse double-feature, Hobo with a Shotgun. I can't say that it is a disappointing film because, given the title, and the trailer that it spawned from, how could I have really expected a great deal more? But the trouble is that I found it to just be a little too relentlessly extreme; obviously attempting to shock as a subtle satire on the similar shock-gore movies that inspired it; unfortunately doing just too good a job. Watching Hobo was only a little bit more pleasant than watching the Hostel movies. And they were not pleasant at all. For me. So, if you have zero sensibilities (and I don't happen to think I'm that easily offended at all!), then maybe, just maybe, you will find some value in this. Unfortunately, for me, even the still-commanding presence of Rutger Hauer couldn't save this piece from being just plain painful to endure.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get the same excellent package that the US received a while back, with great video and audio, and a hefty selection of thoroughly comprehensive extras to round off the disc. Fans will already have it. Those who are still sitting on the fence will only get a warning from me. Decapitations. Incinerated children. Father Christmas paedophiles. Chewing glass. Losing limbs... if you can handle all this with absolutely no let-up, no silver lining, ultimately no redemption, then maybe this will be your cup of tea. Otherwise leave it in the seedy street gutter, where it belongs.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.