Jonah Hex – Shea Hennum Goes To The Movies
Jonah Hex which opens June 18th in the US—sorry, after a trip to IMDB and a couple Google searches I couldn't find a UK release date—stars Josh ("No Country For Old Men For Old Men") Brolin as the titular Jonah Hex, Megan ("Transformers") Fox as Lilah the helpful hooker, and the awesome John ("Dangerous Liaisons") Malkovich as the devilish Quentin Turnbull. "Hex"—which is about a gunslinger with his share of scars (Hex) who, to save himself from prison, has to stop old-west terrorist, Quentin Turnbull, who has a connection to Hex—also features fan-favorite Will ("Arrested Development") Arnett. The flick is written by the duo, known professionally as Neveldine/Taylor, behind last year's "Gamer" as well as "Crank" and it's sequel "Crank: High Voltage". It's directed by Jimmy Hayward who previously directed Dreamwork's "Horton Hears a Who!".
As a frame of reference: I did not enjoy "Wild, Wild, West" and that will be the film I compare it to, for obvious reasons. And because this is a comic book movie I'll frame the review with my opinions of some. I did like "Wanted", "Constantine", and I even liked "X-men: The Last Stand" to some degree, but I didn't like "X-men Origins: Wolverine" and I didn't like "The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen". So, if you did enjoy "Wild, Wild, West", or the two other "dislikes" I listed, you'll have to adjust the rating accordingly.
The film opens with a voice over as we see Hex fighting in the Civil War, a montage really. And the montage culminates in an oft-flashbacked-to scene where Jonah gets his scar. The film than transitions to comic art fused with CGI that looks like it's from the mid-'90s, and we find out how Jonah survives his quasi-crucifixion and it touches upon the supernatural elements that we saw in the trailer. In this motion comic we learn that Quentin Turnbull, the man who branded Hex, died (but not really! Dun, dun, duuuuun!) and that Jonah Hex can talk to the dead. In my opinion they should've just cut this scene out and skipped the shitty-looking comic montage. It adds nothing and this scene is flashbacked to several times throughout the movie, and one flashback shows us an even longer version of the scene. The highpoint of the opening is some well-done banjo music that sets the tone for the film and starts it off well, musically anyways.
The music takes a harsh left turn and eventually becomes something you don't even notice…until the climax, when we here electric guitars play over Hex and Turnbull's final battle. Staying after the credits, I learned that the score was provided, in part at least, by heavy-metal band Mastodon. Such an…interesting choice in musicians to score a western.
Actually, to call it a western is kind of an insult to westerns. There isn't really anything authentic about this movie. The accents are weak and the technology is such an anachronism it's second only "Wild, Wild, West" in if-that-existed-back-then-then-fuck-yes-we-would've-had-flying-cars-in-2003-like-The-Jetsons-said-we-would. It's really that bad. The plot revolves around Turnbull trying to find and construct some giant cannon that fires exploding cannon balls, courtesy of Eli Whitney. This movie doesn't even attempt to grasp at reality, what with the "Nation Killer" and what not, but also with the little things. EVERYTHING (This is me being hyperbolic…but only just a little) in this movie is clean. Like…perfectly. Megan Fox's teeth are perfectly white and her hair is perfectly clean and straightened. Her clothes are spic and span. Other than three people in, like, the third scene of the movie, there is not a single person who looks like didn't walk out of 2010.
You're probably thinking that this movie saved itself with the acting. I mean, it does have a pretty good leading cast with Academy Award nominees Josh Brolin and John Malkovich, but no. There are some scenes where Josh Brolin really shines (I say this as someone who isn't that big a fan of Josh Brolin) but there were also moments when he was incredibly stiff, sufficiently balancing the budget on him. And Malkovich…oh man. I don't want to say that he did a terrible job, but 'mediocre job' is incredibly accurate. He played the role of 19th century Bond villain, and a stupid one at that. Megan Fox actually did a passable job, not getting much screen time, but performing better than either of the Transformers'. But, it's safe to say, the biggest hindrance to either of these actors was that the film was so quickly paced and so poorly edited that neither of them get very much screen time. The film is 1 hour and 20 minutes long but it feels more like 45 minutes. I was literally sitting in my seat, watching the climax, and saying "There is no way this can be the ending, this movie can not be this short." This movie was just way too short for anybody, let a lone the leads, to show us what they were working with. But with this movie I'm not really sure if that's a blessing or a curse.
The film is riddled with poor workmanship and plot holes. It is definitely not worth the $9.50 it cost to see a movie these days. I honestly do not know which is a worse movie: "Jonah Hex" or "Wild, Wild, West".
Since I can't come up with a reasonable X/10, I'll just say this is something that you should not miss a World Cup game for, any game. Unless of course you're our beloved Rich, who likes to go shopping instead of watching the football.
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