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Jonah Hex (2010)

Jonah Hex (2010)Reviewed by Nomad

Starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Michael Fassbender, Megan Fox

Directed by Jimmy Hayward


Straight-up Westerns have met with a fair amount of success in theaters in the last ten years or so. When Hollywood tries to tweak the model a bit, things don’t turn out so well (cue Wild Wild West theme song.) Jonah Hex’s trailers may suggest the Western genre is just a backdrop for supernatural intrigue and steampunk weapons blazing away at monstrous bad guys, but the actual film isn’t nearly as interesting. Prepare for a train wreck.

Jonah Hex (Brolin) is a man haunted by the death of his wife and child at the hands of the insidious Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich). Scarred horribly by Turnbull and left for dead, Hex is saved by friendly Native Americans who yank him back, inches from the hereafter and thus changed by having seen the other side. Now Hex can communicate with the dead with a touch and roams the dusty trails as an outlaw bounty hunter with a taste for a prostitute named Lilah (Fox) and a scar across his mug you’d never forget.

The rest of this tale is either irrelevant or makes no sense. Hex believes Turnbull to be dead, which is reversed minutes later, a pointless plot fact since we all know Turnbull is the main bad guy before we even enter the theater. Hex’s “talking to the dead” gimmick stands as the only pleasing effect in the whole film, but things revealed during these moments, while pushing Hex toward the bad guy, seem forced and could have been easily replaced with some bar drunk pointing in the right direction…but what fun would that be?!

Jonah Hex (2010)The dialogue falls out of actors’ mouths with the pacing of a sub-par community theater performance, as if they were all told to sit down and watch Silverado before the shoot as their only reference. The result is agonizing with a series of peripheral characters standing around like Civil War reenactors or those odd puppets in the Hall of Presidents, pitching their lines at main characters who seem to yawn back at them.

SPEAKING of acting! While watching Jonah Hex, you’d think the film was shot in a single week with actors given two days to read the script and cue cards to cover the rest. Brolin’s mangled mouthpiece assures most of his lines are delivered through gritted teeth, rendered unintelligible. This makes his scenes with Megan Fox extra hysterical, as her delivery is extra mumbly with a sort of drawl, which isn’t to be confused with a Southern drawl. She just draws her words out and makes every word sound gnarly. It’s not sexy. John Malkovich slow walks from scene to scene with the intensity of someone performing a task they were talked into by a cousin who nagged them for a solid year. I’d swear he doesn’t change his facial expression even once and delivers his lines with a softness you reserve for ordering dessert after a pleasing meal.

This leaves Michael Fassbender as the maniacal, heavily tattooed Burke, who dances through every scene and twirls a giant knife as if he studied the art since childhood. Fassbender seems the only person behaving as if he’s in a crazy, comic adapted Western with supernatural overtones and comes off more like a Robocop nemesis than cohort to Turnbull, who is most likely sleeping somewhere behind him. Special mentions should be given to Wes Bentley and Will Arnett, who are so miscast and odd, even with the small roles given, that they may as well be in a “Saturday Night Live” skit spoofing the movie. Finally, a tip of my hat to Tom Wopat (yes, that Duke boy), who acts his ass off despite the stupidity happening around him and succeeds in proving he deserves more movie roles.

Jonah Hex (2010)Eighty minutes feel like two hours as this dull fantasy rolls along with lame, unlikely action, horrible writing, and zero atmosphere. If you consider a red tinted “dream sequence” that replays throughout the film as cutting edge cinematography, then I suggest you partake in any one of a number of Syfy’s “original” movies and save some cash. When I saw the names Neveldine and Taylor come up in the credits as screenwriters, I nearly yelled “LIAR!!” This complete mess of a film could not be the work of the guys who brought us the Crank films and Gamer. Jonah Hex lacks the quirkiness and risk taking that is the backbone of those films. Jonah Hex has to be a hack job, and after cutting the meat to ribbons in an attempt to form a coherent storyline, we are left with 80 minutes of sweaty boredom, laughable action gimmicks, and an “ultimate weapon” that will remind the more geeky among us of the dragon balls from Dragon Ball Z. They, too, make no sense.

I went into Jonah Hex with very low expectations, my Spidey senses telling me this may hurt a bit. I left rubbing my eyes, shaking myself awake for the ride home, and muttering curses to myself. At the very least, I’d expected a classic revenge tale with heavy atmosphere and supernatural overtones. What I got was a completely wasted opportunity to do something new while crossing genres, utilizing at least two excellent actors to pull it off … and a headache. Jonah Hex is a textbook case of a movie falling apart at the zero hour, like a science project scotch taped together the night before that oozes all over the back seat of Dad’s car on the way to class the next day. Save yourself the agony, and skip this movie altogether.

1 out of 5

Discuss Jonah Hex in our forums!

Nomad

  • vorodex999

    Does anyone believe we will get a better version on DVD if its released in its unrated directors cut format? I have read all over the ineternet at how this film was butchered not only by the studio but by the star Josh brolin who had a lot to say on almost everyscene. I mean you take a film meant to be a hard R(hell even Appaloosa was rated R and its no where close to the violence of the JOnah hex comics, yet somehow we got aPG-13 film?) Makes one wonder….not really. here you had a comic book franchise that IS well known by COMIC BOOK fans. Fans only really. Then you have a genre that is dying off(Hey, I like westerns and think 3:10 to Yuma and Appaloosa were good films) and expect the studio to not mess with it. This film really didnt have ashot in my opinion. The Late marketing, the short time limit of 80s mins to give everyone an idea about what and who Hex was and why he does what he does is not only an idiotic move it…i’m going to stop comlaining.. I wanted to like this film and I admit it apart of me did. but this really is bad film. There are things to like and so many things to hate. I wish now that Thomad Jane would have been Jonah Hex, that a even new up and coming director could have made this film who had a passion for the source material and soemone would have taken John Malcovich out of the film(is it me or has his last few films really sucked. Even if this film had heart inhected into it which this one does not have. This film would have been better.

  • NeoKefka

    Jonah Hex is such a simple concept somebody literally had to try to fuck it up this badly.

  • kiddcapone

    Gamer was without a doubt one of the worst movies I have seen in the last decade. I fell asleep several times, had to rewind it, hated every single second of it, felt embarrassed for everyone involved, couldn’t believe how ridiculous the story was, and felt an unmistakable anger afterwards that I actually subjected myself to watching it when I could have been doing anything else. Just horrible. Pure garbage.

    It falls into the category that anyone who suggests it’s GOOD or worth watching can’t be taken seriously with anything else that follows that statement. I have no interest in Jonah Hex, in fact the previews alone make the film seem like it’s destined to land a spot in the top 5 biggest bombs of all-time list, but I just can’t take the review seriously after reading that Gamer sentence. All creditability is instantly lost.

    • Nomad

      Because you say so.

      • kiddcapone

        Yep.

        • jesstro

          Just agreeing w/ kidd… Gamer did suck.

          • Nomad

            I don’t agree. That’s why the world is a wonderful place.

          • kiddcapone

            That’s why your reviews are often ridiculed. I remember reading posts mocking your reviews or jokes during Dinner for Fiends about you but I wasn’t familiar enough to get the joke. But as of right now, everything has become crystal clear.

            Wasn’t “as good” as Gamer….hahahahaha.

          • Nomad

            Go look up the word opinion. There’s no right answer. To force one is to show your own ignorance. Easy way to avoid my opinions is to stop reading them. Magic.

          • GJW

            Standing ovation!!!!!

            ———————————————
            Formerly FireRam

  • Foywonder

    Was expecting a much worse movie than it turned out to be. Still not good by any stretch of the imagination, just not as terrible as had been hyped. A combination of very low expectations and a scant 73 minute running time probably helped considerably. You can tell from watching that the movie has been rewritten and re-edited to hell and back. I still don’t fully understand why Jonah Hex killed Turnbull’s son prompting Turnbull to then kill Hex’s family and scar his face or why Megan Fox’s hooker is in love with Hex or why a guy that sounds like a leprechaun when he talks would be assisting an evil angry Confederate general seek revenge for losing the Civil War or why for that matter Jonah Hex is considered the only person who can stop Turnbull when Turnbull proves to be neither a tough nor hard-to-find villain. Brolin’s pretty good in the Hex role – enough so to make you wish he was starring in a better movie, but Megan Fox is worthless every single time she opens her mouth. John Malkovich clearly did not give a shit. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it the worst performance of his career because he wasn’t even trying hard enough to call it a performance. This is right up there with Ben Kingsley in BloodRayne. But I did learn something I never knew: Eli Whitney invented dragonballs. At least that’s what I gathered from the never explained “Nation Killer” superweapon that fires glowing orange cannonballs of mass destruction. Honestly, the whole movie plays like a TV pilot for a Jonah Hex TV show that would have been produced by Fox back in the 90’s starring David Hasselhoff.

    • Stupid Moron

      In a world where every movie is two and a half goddamn hours long, I do like the run time.

  • Stupid Moron

    “This complete mess of a film could not be the work of the guys who brought us the Crank films and Gamer.”

    Funniest sentence in the history of Dread Central, possible the whole universe.

    • Nomad

      Say what you will about Crank and Gamer, but they are never Boring. Hex was a complete snooze.

  • e-x-i-t

    i had a feeling this would fail hard. at least it’s not a marvel comic or we’d have 2 or 3 more lame attempts to “reboot” it in the future a la punisher and the hulk.

    oops…i just remembered superman and the pre-bale batmans.

    i wonder what would be worse…having the brand of your rival’s initials burnt into your face or the fact that said initials can be pronounced “cutie”.

  • PelusaMG

    Jonah ‘Hacks’ then?
    __________
    Please consider the environment before printing this message…

  • Jim_McD

    That’s strange, it almost sounds like Nomad is saying that “Gamer” was a good movie, and that Neveldine and Taylor have done more than write the same movie about 4 times now…

    Gamer was horrificly bad, if these knuckleheads wrote Hex how can it be any surprise that it’s bad too?

    • Nomad

      I love the Crank movies and I liked Gamer.

      • Terminal

        I’ve yet to see Crank 2 or Gamer, but I did like Crank.

        Like “Ghost Rider,” I think “Jonah Hex” had potential to be a very mature and entertaining bit of a mystic western of a sorts, but as always they just didn’t take the material seriously. And casting Megan Fox in anything is never a good idea.
        ———-
        “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

    • Vanvance1

      Both of the Crank movies were sublimely ridiculous.

      Gamer was decent and got better when the directors decided to slow it down and take the camera away from the epileptic. It was a lot better than Doom.

  • Terminal

    How you take a great concept like Jonah Hex and fuck it up is truly something to marvel at.
    ———-
    “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

    • Nomad

      The worst thing I can say about it is, it wasn’t as fun as Wild Wild West.

      • Terminal

        I honestly don’t know how to register that.
        ———-
        “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

      • Spaceshark

        I think that may qualify as hate speech, Nomad.

  • Mr. Dark

    Warner Bros sucks donkey peen. They even recycled that poster from the last Harry Potter flick.