'Hobo with a Shotgun' is everything you'd want a film called 'Hobo with a Shotgun' to be, except that ideally you'd be watching it on a crusty VHS tape that you found in the back of an independent video store run by a weird guy with a ponytail.
In an era of too much campy self-awareness, too many grindhouse homages, and too much blood-for-blood's-sake, 'HWAS' is a breath of fresh, sleazy air. First-time director Jason Eisener, expanding on the fake trailer that he and writer John Davies made in 2007 as part of a contest, takes exactly the right tone, straddling the line between imitation and parody. 'HWAS' both makes fun of Troma-style exploitation movies and is one itself.
The key is to play it with a straight face. Luckily, Eisener has Rutger Hauer, the iconic veteran actor who seems like he ought to have been in a movie called 'Hobo with a Shotgun' already. Hauer shows in his performance that he knows what the joke is, but also that he knows not to let it show. He doesn't wink at the audience, but he isn't a clueless old man, either. He gets it.