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Jonah Hex Review

Based on the long-running DC Comic, Jonah Hex is about a gunslinger in the old west who becomes a bounty hunter after his family is killed. His face is scarred in such a way he is scary to look at to his enemies. However, this movie is not what anyone is hoping for.  The production team behind the film got about 60 percent of the character wrong.

I am not quite sure where the idea came from to make Jonah Hex a ghost whisperer, for example. They really try to draw in the audience of the supernatural with his ability to talk to the dead. It makes for a nice cameo appearance by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has now appeared in three DC Vertigo Comic Book movies in 16 months, but that’s it. There are hints at what could have been a good film in the ideas they never quite followed up on, but mostly it’s an endless mess squashed into the shortest running time possible. I have to commend DC Comics for trying to make something else besides Superman or Batman but this is not the way to do it.

Needless to say at this point, the movie felt a little rushed. They put something together in such a hurry to get from scene to scene before we even got through with what had just occurred. Josh Brolin is the title character; burdened with a facial prosthetic that reduces most of his dialogue to mumbling. Brolin seems to have no feeling for who the character is, which reminds me oddly of Pamela Anderson in Barbed Wire with the way he always talks through his teeth. He goes from grimly boring to silly, and the only reason why his performance isn’t the film’s worst is because Megan Fox is also in the film.

I don’t mind Fox in this film because she makes fantastic eye candy once again. Here character is Lila, a tough-as-nails prostitute with a heart of gold who suddenly becomes an obedient wench whenever Jonah Hex walks into the her life. Lila got seriously mucked up in the course of the re-writes this film was plagued with. Her character really has nothing to do with the film other than to give Jonah a love interest in place of his dearly departed wife. John Malkovich, meanwhile, appears to be acting in this movie just for a paycheck. He plays General Turnbull, a Confederate terrorist who killed Hex’s family and scarred his face, wrongly thought dead who now has a set of magical cannonballs with which he’s going to blow up Washington DC. Malkovich barely gives Turnbull a southern accent, with it showing up in some scenes and not in others.

Then there’s the final battle, which takes place on an ironclad which is cut in with Megan Fox battling on the same ironclad. Then it’s cut with an imaginary fist fight between Hex and Turnbull, which in turn is cut with yet another series of flashbacks to Hex’s origin. The final fist fight between Hex and Turnbull is crosscut with an imaginary fist fight between Hex and Turnbull. The idea here, introduced into the film earlier, is that when you’re about to die you imagine yourself finishing up your life’s business.What? Hex is actively engaged in a fight with the same guy at the same time. It’s confusing in the worst way. The imaginary duel is given a red psychedelic haze about halfway through as if its the movie version of the EA video game Red Dead Redemption (kind of a cowboy Grand Theft Auto) that just came out a week before this movie. That person should be beaten.

Jonah Hex feels like a movie that nobody understood when they made it, that nobody cared about when they edited it, and that nobody even read the comic books that the movie was based on. If they had at least watched that one awesome episode of Batman the Animated Series, where Hex fights Ras Al Goul during a flashback sequence, that would have helped some. It’s the kind of movie that if you never saw a western before — or if you had never seen an action movie in your life — you might like it. Jonah Hex should have had more care put into it, not because its such an unknown character, but because we were promised better than Catwoman.

Rating: 4/10

Jonah Hex
Directed by Jimmy Heyward
Written by Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, William Farmer, John Albano and Tony Dezuniga (comic)
Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox

Rating
4.0

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