Hobo with a Shotgun

Yet another grindhouse homage hits BD - but is this one actually worth giving a spin?

There are not many filmmakers who can say that they beat Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez at their own game. But debut director Jason Eisener is one of them.

During the development of Tarantino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse vanity project the duo ran a fake trailer content, the winner of which would join the professional fake trailers accompanying their double-bill. Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun won and was swiftly optioned to be transformed into an actual feature film starring Rutger Hauer. While the end result is about as puerile and ludicrous as you’d expect (and we mean that in a good way, sort of), it’s also feels far more genuine a piece of ‘70s exploitation cinema than anything Tarantino or Rodriguez have cooked up – and now that’s been settled, could everybody please stop with all of this fake grindhouse malarkey once and for all?

Picture: Even if you don't get much out of the film itself, you'll still appreciate the disc’s AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode. Shot digitally using Red cameras, the film employs a startlingly over-saturated palette in order to replicate the gaudy Technicolor film stock of the ‘70s. While it often threatens to burn out your eyeballs with the brightness of its colour scheme, it also holds together extremely well technically on this Blu-ray release (I fear the DVD will struggle by comparison). Add in a wealth of fine detail (check out the whiskers on those close-ups of Hauer’s grizzled face) and you have a HD presentation I simply cannot fault.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: To be truly authentic to its origins Hobo with a Shotgun should sound muffled and distorted. Thankfully, that’s not the case at all. This disc packs a killer DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix full of hard-hitting shotgun blasts and frantic spatial effects in the surround speakers. It might not be subtle, but this potent mix suits the film’s over-ripe visuals to a tee. Best of all though is its treatment of the film’s magnificent ‘70s-style synthesiser score that sounds like its come straight from a lost John Carpenter film.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Boasting more extras than the Hobo has shotgun shells, this disc is practically overflowing with supplementary goodies. The major BD-exclusive is the Shotgun Mode, which allows you to drop out off the film to check out behind-the-scenes vignettes. If you don’t fancy accessing the material that way, all 44 clips (a total of 106mins of material) can also be accessed separately. Also on offer are a pair of audio commentaries, a 45min Making of… documentary, three deleted scenes, an alternate ending, nine video blogs, a camera test reel, interviews with Eisener and Hauer, the original Hobo… fake trailer, the winner of Hobo…’s very own fake trailer competition (the not particularly amusing Van Gore) and the main film’s theatrical trailer.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: An exceptionally strong BD package for – what we hope is – the last word in fake ‘70s exploitation flicks. 

Momentum Pictures, Region B BD, £20 approx, On sale now