|Rutger Hauer is a Hobo.|
If it had been a UK film, I hope it would have starred Bernard Cribbins.
The hobo rides into Hope Town in an empty luggage compartment of a freight train, and finds the conurbation to be a nest of iniquity and sudden death. Fights and muggings go wholly unchallenged, almost unnoticed in the colourfully graffitied streets. At the top of the town is the Drake (Brian Downey), who keeps the people in thrall with flamboyantly public murders of the most sensational varieties. His sons Ivan and Slick pick off their victims almost recreationally, using dodgems to smash open their heads like watermelons. Says the Drake: 'when life gives you razor blades, you make a baseball-bat covered with razor-blades.' It's a mantra to live by.
|The Drake, about to decapitate his brother.|
Isn't it magnificently colourful!
It has something of the flavour of a Western, with a nameless stranger riding into a town in the middle of nowhere and straightening out the streets. It put me in mind of 'High Plains Drifter' (1973), though there are probably many closer to this format. This is all the better, though, for its modern setting, its familiar looks. Any modern city could become Hope Town remarkably easily. The look of the place is thrilling: everything is so colourful that the graffiti and trash seem beautiful, not dirty, and the blood seems appropriate decoration.
|I love that someone's actually graffitied the word 'feces'.|
It's the plural of 'fez', you know.
There's a charm to it: a feeling that good can prosper, and villains might eventually be brought low. The hobo isn't a violent man; he's a simple one with an innocent dream: all he wants is to own a lawnmower and use it to find work as a gardener. His rampage against crime is just a step towards that dream, and an act to protect Abby (Molly Dunsworth), the young prostitute with whom he finds a tender friendship, and who dreams of going to the zoo to see the bears.
|Don't worry - it isn't her own blood.|
Despite my initial reservations, I'm glad I saw this film. It's not so horrible as I feared, and while I would hesitate to show it to an infant, I think it's far less distressing and damaging than, say, 'The Death of Pencilton' (2011), or 'Na Srebrnym Globie' (1977), or 'The Snowman' (1982).