Rated PG-13 for: Violence, Drinking, Language, and To Make What Little Money They Could.
Starring: Jonah Hex, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Will Arnett
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Running Time: 80 minutes (Feels like 200 minutes)
Here’s the funny thing; tonight, I had the choice between seeing the midnight of Toy Story 3 and Jonah Hex and I picked the latter. I did this for two reasons: a) I am a rebel Dottie and b) I was hoping for less of a crowd since people were lined up for the latest Pixar opus. Number b was confirmed when I got in there, and including me and my friend, there were maybe 12 people total. There’s a reason for this. Jonah Hex sucks out loud.
Josh Brolin stars as the title character, a former Confederate soldier who abandons the Southern cause and kills his best friend who attempts to get him to obey the order to burn down a hospital (you don’t see any of this, this is explained to you). His best friend happens to be the son of Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), a crazed Confederate general who takes offense to the death of his son. For revenge, he ties up Hex and forces him to watch as his wife and son are burned alive. To add insult to injury, Turnbull proceeds to brand Hex on the face with his initials so he never forgets what has transpired (how you would forget something like that well…whatever anyway).
Hex is left to die tied up, but is saved by Native Americans, specifically a tribe known as the Crow. They nurse him back to health, but it turns out Hex has gained the ability to talk to the dead by touching them. Why? Because the budget allows for it, that’s why! Hex becomes a revered bounty hunter, but his new life is interrupted by the U.S. Army, who need his help in tracking down Turnbull and his band of merry thugs who are building a super weapon to destroy Washington D.C. on the night of the Centennial (more on this supposed “awesome weapon” later). Hex, out for revenge, takes the assignment and we follow him as he attempts to kill Turnbull and Turnbull’s right hand man, the Irish thug Burke (Michael Fassbender). Oh and Hex is also smitten with a prostitute name Lilah (Megan Fox) just because.
Where to even start. The acting, first off, is atrocious beyond the belief. Brolin does okay, snarling his way through the role, but everyone else is just mind numbingly horrible. Malkovich manages to both overact and underact, and his Southern accent fades in and out. Megan Fox is her usual bad self, and all of the side characters hurt the ears to listen to. Will Arnett is in the movie for a total of five minutes, and you can’t help but feel bad for the guy, although not entirely bad because he agreed to this.
I love Neveldine/Taylor. The Crank series is the best modern action franchise going, and even Gamer wasn’t horrible. However, I love them more as directors and their script here is incomprehensible and filled with horrible dialogue. As much as I chide the actors, they had to get their lines somewhere. The supernatural element of Jonah Hex feels flat out unnecessary and doesn’t add anything whatsoever to the story. It feels like it was just thrown in because the studio thought it would be cool. There is no chemistry between Brolin and Fox and you have no idea why she likes him or vice versa. The “super weapon” mentioned before is the worst pay-off I have experienced in quite some time. They build it up and you know what it is? A giant multi-hole cannon that shoots a bunch of cannonballs, then a special bright orange ball that for some reason ignites them and creates a nuclear-like explosion, leveling cities. That’s it. I don’t know about you, but that isn’t really that impressive.
Jonah Hex may also be 80 minutes, but it feels like a lot more. They throw in so many elements at once back to back that you get burned out 30 minutes in and it just drags and drags. The middle especially, when Jonah is recovering from being shot, feels like it goes on forever. I think whoever was editing this thought this too because after all of this time spent on his pain, he is healed super quick and is right off to get to the climax of the story. Like, in the time it takes to snap your finger, that’s when it all of a sudden shifts back.
I hate being so negative, so I will highlight a couple of okay points. Fassbender makes a pretty decent side villain and I enjoyed him way more than Malkovich. Also, the look of Jonah Hex is pretty interesting and nice…when it’s not being covered by explosions and fire and more explosions and even more fire.
Jonah Hex is laughably bad, and I understand why they went into reshoots and didn’t promote the thing until a few months ago. The script and dialogue are atrocious (featuring some of the worst jokes line and delivery wise I have ever heard), the acting is horrible, and it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The supernatural elements are superficial and not needed, and although it’s short, its poor pacing makes it feel like a lifetime. If you love the comic series, or your brain cells, stay the hell away from Jonah Hex. If you like to watch horrible movies in order to riff on them and pretend you’re Tom Servo, then by all means check it out but wait for DVD so you don’t annoy the people around you with your unfunny comments.