“Jonah Hex” was directed by Jimmy Hayward who was a director and actor for “Horton Hears a Who!” and clearly was the right choice for the job (*insert sarcasm here*). Josh Brolin stars as Jonah Hex, a branded ex-Confederate Soldier turned bounty hunter on a path for vengeance against Quentin Turnbull played by John Malkovich, the man who murdered his wife and child.
(I apologize for no video review this time, but I am just too sick with a sore throat to be up for this one. You can see my smiling face next weekend!)
Unfamiliar with the comic book, I thought I was going to be getting more of a lone gunslinger wild west tale, but instead got a warped CGI explosion heavy, shoddy hand-to-hand combat action flick in South Carolina. Were there ever deserts in South Carolina?
My first instinct was that this film was pretty inconsistent/uneven, but that would have to imply that parts were good and parts were bad and for the life of me, I can’t think of any parts that were good.
When the tagline reads “Revenge is Ugly”, they weren’t kidding. Brolin’s face is so ugly along with his personality that it is almost impossible to cheer for him. He’s gruff and maybe it is the challenge of working with the side of his mouth clenched from the deformity, but his half-hearted quips never pay off. You never get the impression that he actually likes or cares about Megan Fox or her character and all of their scenes have the chilly chemistry of “Let’s get this over with.”
Megan Fox as Lilah right from the start is pretty unlikable. Her character is a hypocrite chasing off some John who wants her to run away with him to the big city only to suggest to Jonah Hex that he do the same with her. Megan Fox’s body looks good in a dress and we all know she is a striking young lady even in the all-natural look she was sporting cosmetics-wise, but someone came up with the horrible idea to give her a blurry Barbara Walters filter in EVERY shot to ease off some of that high definition detail that might expose a reality where she has pores *gasp*. It is super distracting and suggests her character ought to have angel wings or something when her attitude and morals couldn’t be farther away. Her accent is painful and remember while watching this that in the movie world, you have multiple takes to choose from when you make the final cut so the line delivery you hear here is the best the director got out of her. Wow. Bad choice all around to cast her because looks-wise you’d think it would work, but instead of making her real and gritty and consistent with the rest of the film, they went with the weird filter choice and everything else about her character and acting is a disaster. By the time she tries to do some fighting of her own at the end, it’s too late, we already hate her. “Jennifer’s Body” = YES, “Jonah Hex” = NO.
Michael Fassbender whom I loved in “Fish Tank” and “Inglourious Basterds” is thrown into a funky henchman with a neck tattoo whom from his accent I can only guess is…Irish?? Accents are all over the place in this film, but this one and this character takes the cake for weirdness. He seems to be a jaunty assassin that enjoys his task of finishing Jonah Hex so much that he keeps getting distracted and letting the man get away. His final fight scene ends very anticlimactically with a result that seems VERY PG13 for what was supposed to have happened to him. Maybe they should have gone big or gone home with an R rating to boost up the violence to a level that would more properly express the grittiness of tone throughout.
John Malkovich uses flat proper annunciation to be a villain once more as is his trademark. Turnbull is seeking out weapons of mass destruction to use against a centennial celebration not for any specific revenge, but just to blow stuff up apparently. Faking his own death got Hex off the trail, but once Turnbull is out and about causing a ruckus again, the U.S. Military comes crawling back to Jonah Hex, the only man they believe can stop him with promises of a blanket pardon if he succeeds. Being flat and emotionless usually works in rival to a passionate hero, but when both protagonist and antagonist come off as one-note, the whole vengeance plot feels bland and pointless.
Probably the coolest moments of the movie are when Jonah Hex reanimates dead people, but that is mostly on the CGI end and not the acting at all.
“Jonah Hex” is a little painful and ugly from start to finish. A little jumpy, filled with flashbacks and a recurring vengeance dream that seems nonsensical and like it should have been cut altogether. Better to steer clear of this one, you’d be better off with an action-comedy like “The A-Team” or “Knight and Day” shockingly.