a critiQal film review Jonah Hex (2010)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Jonah Hex (Brolin) is a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort, a tough and stoic gunslinger who can track down anyone…and anything. But his past is about to catch up to him when the U.S. military makes him an offer he can’t refuse: in exchange for his freedom from the warrants on his head, he must track down and stop the dangerous Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich), Jonah's oldest enemy.

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  • ...gives the viewer the sneaking suspicion most of the film was left on the cutting-room floor, and this is just the highlight reel - and it's still dull.

After his stand-out role in No Country for Old Men (2007) – and portraying ex-Prez George W. Bush in W. (2008) – Josh Brolin takes on the role of bounty hunter in Jonah Hex…and he’s bringing Megan Fox along.

The previews made this one look dark yet interesting, but after pretty much everyone bashing the movie, we decided to forgo seeing Jonah Hex in theaters. But, now that it’s on DVD, it seemed like the perfect time to stop by a local redbox® and snag a copy.

Would Jonah Hex – with star power that includes Josh Brolin and John Malkovich – be the thinking man’s superhero film? Or is this just another in a long line of superhero movies that should never have been made?

Josh Brolin is decent enough in the title role, but doesn’t bring the same passion he’s brought to previous roles. Instead, he’s reliving his sheriff character from No Country for Old Men (2007) but with a half-heartedness that causes the viewer to think he’s not really into the role. Sure, this character has a bit of a larger dark side, but Brolin never really explores it. He’s instead content to play the character as a sort of homage to 80’s action heroes – and the one-liners he spews, while occasionally smart, don’t fit well with the rest of the film.

With Brolin plodding along, Malkovich would have to really step up as the villain to make the viewer stick around. He never really does. But, as with Brolin, the cut scenes the film is filled with don’t really give him a chance. Instead, he makes an appearance and really doesn’t need to do much except read a few lines while the viewer watches a mythical fight in the desert.

Megan Fox, who apparently got booted from her starring role in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), shows up in a role any western seems to need to have – a tough-as-nails prostitute. Unfortunately, the film barely does more than sketch in her character. She just doesn’t have the solid base – typical of any of the characters she plays – and again, doesn’t really get a chance to show viewers there is more to her than her looks.

Jonah Hex bears a resemblance to The Crow (1994) in it’s use of the dark bird as a main figure in the storyline. But it’s not a good comparison for Hex, as this dark western is merely a by-the-numbers revenge pic. Hex’s sordid past takes center stage. The film’s actual storyline – about a deadly weapon of mass destruction and Hex’s nemesis, Turnbull’s plan to use it to destroy the 100-year-old USA, – seems incredibly secondary, and the viewer won’t give it much thought.

Will Hex get his revenge on his tormentor Turnbull, or will he be struck down before he can accomplish that goal? Even when Hex is near death’s door, the viewer won’t expect anything other than Hex’s eventual victory. The storyline – despite trying to twist and turn along the way – never really gives the viewer much doubt. Jonah Hex is just inevitable.

Sure, films have been able to overcome that inevitability factor before, but, unfortunately, Jonah Hex isn’t one of them. With the actors plodding through their (mostly) cardboard character-like roles and the rather dull, point-by-point scene cuts from beginning to end, Jonah Hex seems dead on arrival. Despite the tragic-past hero with intriguing special powers (a strong relation to crows and a dead re-animation technique like the one seen on “Pushing Daisies” (TV)), the film seems to consist of disconnected scenes within a storyline, leaving the viewer with a sneaking suspicion that a majority of the film ended up on the cutting-room floor, and what they are seeing is merely the highlight reel.

It does have it’s moments along the way (a favorite sequence has Hex apologizing to his latest kill since he’s run out of witty one-liners), but they aren’t worth the effort to see the film through. Even the grand finale is a bit of a let-down. If you’re looking for a tragic hero, re-watch The Crow (1994) and skip Jonah Hex. You’ll be much better off.

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