JONAH HEX Movie Review
With this newest Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!) installment of a comic book adaption comes the question: how much longer will Hollywood exhaust this genre of relatively obscure fan boy material before it's dead?
The film opens with our hero's back-story. Once a Confederate soldier, Jonah Hex (played by Josh Brolin) is forced to betray and kill his commanding officer in order to save innocent lives. The officer's father, Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), takes revenge by tying up Jonah and burning his family alive while he watches. He then brands Jonah's face and leaves him for dead. Found barely alive, he is taken in by Native Americans and is revived with the unique ability to communicate with the dead. He uses his new found supernatural power to become a bounty hunter, and sets out to seek revenge for his family, only to find out Turnbull is already dead.
Time passes, and we're re-introduced to Hex, who is sought out by the government to go after a very much alive Quentin Turnbull, who has stolen a secret weapon being transported by train. The government officials find him in a brothel with his new love interest, Lilah (Megan Fox), a hooker with heart. They tell him that Turnbull is still alive, and Hex accepts the request to hunt down his arch enemy. The rest of the movie essentially plays out in predictable fashion with a display of the weapon and its destructive power to convey its severity, Lilah playing out her only real purpose in the movie (which is to be kidnapped and used as bait) and Hex finally confronting and defeating his foe in a whirlwind of explosive, but poorly paced action.
Even in a synopsis, I find this movie disjointed and messy because it feels as though the movie itself is a synopsis of the comic series. The plot, which unfolds in a staggeringly short 81 minutes, is so poorly pieced together that it leaves the viewer both confused and irritated - mainly due to the fact that the fictionalized world portrayed is barely explained, which is possibly under the assumption that everyone in the audience has read the comics. It rushes through key plot points and character backgrounds in a haze and focuses in on the action sequences and Megan Fox's over-hyped sexuality, which is wedged into as many scenes as possible. Ironically, I don't even buy into the idea of Megan Fox as a whore, despite her overtly sexual onscreen presence. The only redeeming factor of the entire film is that John Malkovich and Josh Brolin deliver stellar performances, since they're both incapable of doing otherwise.
When I set out to see Jonah Hex, I was pulled in by it's interesting visual style, reminiscent of a very stylistic live action comic strip. My inner metalhead found the idea of a gothic western flick enticing. I was also excited to see the familiar witty, dry banter that Josh Brolin often carries into his movies (ie: No Country for Old Men). But though he makes a worthy attempt, no amount of talent on his part was able keep this lazy, incoherent film together. It seems as though Hollywood is still beating that dead horse with relentless enthusiasm.