Jonah Hex (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Jonah Hex (2010)

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ANDREW LIKEI woke up this morning and I said to myself, "You've got way too much credibility as a reviewer."  Then I looked at what was on the docket for the day and saw Jonah Hex, a film that was quickly and cheaply thrown together to continue to trend of cashing in on DC Comics characters.  It seemed that my credibility would remain intact and then, lo and behold, the skies cleared and a sign was given.  "You will like Jonah Hex" said the light in the sky.  While I'm still doubtful about the validity of the light as a source of wisdom in the future, for today it is spot on.

Let's be absolutely clear here.  I am not saying that anyone should go out and spend money on the film unless you already had an interest in watching it.  Not in an ironic "this looks so bad" sense that I'm used to and frequently partake in, but those folks that genuinely want to watch the film.  I say this going into Jonah Hex with all the reservations in the world, and while it won't set anyone's view of cinema on fire, it's far from horrible.

Jonah Hex is absurd and the plot is, for the first ten minutes, almost impossible to follow.  Basically, Jonah (Josh Brolin) fought in the Confederate Army and refused to burn down a hospital.  His commanding officer Quentin Turnbull (paycheck cashin' John Malkovich) lost his son because of Hex's betrayal and decides to burn down the home where Hex's family is staying and brands Hex on the face.  This gives Hex some fairly notable scarring, and sends him into a life of bounty hunting and revenge seeking.

The splendor.  The beauty.  The orange and teal.

But, in an animated montage, it's revealed that Turnbull died in a fire.  Except that he didn't, as revealed by actor footage two minutes later.  He instead assumed the role of "Terroristo" and haunts the newly victorious Union troops.  This all slips by Hex as he decides to hunt down bounties instead of making sure the man who slaughtered his family is dead, and slums around with the town prostitute ( Megan Fox).  Ah, and the government sends it's top brass (Will Arnett, not joking) to get Hex and take care of Turnbull.  Who has a super secret weapon that uses golden orbs as ammunition.  Oh yeah, and Hex can talk to the dead by touching them.

Now, let's start with what's obviously wrong with this film.

This thing feels like it was edited by a tornado.  Scenes are thrown together with no real connection and the pace is so breakneck that when we do get needed pieces of information there's no time to digest it.  What's worse is, despite the breakneck pace, we end up being shown some of the same scenes more than one time.  The death of Jonah's family gets repeated twice and, in a strange twist, Jonah nearly dies and gets the chance to "live out his unfinished business".  In a dream sequence.  That gets repeated twice.  During the climax when he's fighting against the very person he had the dream about.

This is not a solid sign of quality.  Then there's the look of the film itself, which is as crisp and boring as any film about psychic half-faced bounty hunters can be.  The full extent of the films visual splendor exists solely in those dream sequences, which have a red ground covered up by a green sky and many ominous clouds.

So where, in this mess of a film, did I find joy?  You need only look to the introduction of the newly scarred Hex to find out.  He's turning in a bounty to some unappreciative authority types that find it'll be easier to kill Jonah then have to pay him.  So they draw their guns on him, at which point Jonah kicks down on both sides of his horse and reveals his secret weapon - dual horse mounted Gatling guns.  Then there's a sequence later where he purchases a pair of handgun/crossbow hybrids that shoot ballista styled explosive rounds.  In this moment he's shooting them against Malkovich "terroristo" and his heavily tattooed eccentrically Irish bloodthirsty assassin.  All of this made me giggle.

The soldier is just as surprised to find Hex naked as I was to see him have sex twice.

Say what you will about it's shoddiness, but do not deny the horse guns.  The best part is that all of the performances and script are tuned into this level of absurdity.  Josh Brolin doesn't play Hex as a brooding wanderer, but more of a joyfully angry cowboy.  Megan Fox manages to give her character a nice edge in the first few seconds onscreen.  Then Malkovich is just kind of phoning it in.  But Will Arnett's appearance is what triggers some strange dialogue ("The President seems to think you're special...magic even.") that was either made up the day of shooting or was clearly aware of Arnett's history of playing magicians.

There you have it.  I smiled, laughed, and was occasionally impressed by an incredibly flawed but fun film.  Now don't come crying to me if you watch it and don't like it.  I've duly warned you.

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Jonah Hex (2010)

Directed by Jimmy Hayward.
Written by Neveldine & Taylor.
Starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox and Will Arnett.

Posted by Andrew

Comments (1) Trackbacks (1)
  1. I’d like to give a thoughtful and terse comment, but for some reason my eyes started bleeding halfway through this review and they haven’t stopped.

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