*** (out of 5)
June 18, 2010
Josh Brolin as JONAH HEX
John Malkovich as QUENTIN TURNBULL
Megan Fox as LILAH
Michael Fassbender as BURKE
Will Arnett as LIEUTENANT GRASS
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Jimmy Hayward
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Let me start by saying that “Jonah Hex” is not a good movie. Not by a long shot. It’s convoluted, the acting is alarmingly poor for the most part and the film has been edited down to a scant 80 minutes for no apparent reason when watching the final product.
But that didn’t stop me from having a hell of a lot of fun watching it.
This is the latest DC Comics movie adaptation about an anti-hero named Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) who lost everything in the Civil War. After being betraying by Hex, the dastardly Quentin Turnbull takes revenge and kills Hex’s family, then brands his face with a horrible scar. Inches from death, Hex makes it back from the other side with the supernatural ability to bring the dead back to life and speak with them momentarily. When Turnbull shows up again to take down the U.S. government, Hex gets his chance at revenge.
As short as the film is, there’s a lot of repetition here. Hex’s origin is described, then re-shot later in the film. There’s an inordinate amount of flashbacks to earlier scenes from the film, and the story kinda loses its way about half-way through. But just when I thought it had completely fallen apart, Hex blew something up, and I was suddenly interested again.
I can’t tell you what this movie was meant to be. There are glimpses of character and story arcs that are rushed through in this film, and the only reason we know there should be something more there is that recognizable actors can be found in the roles. Blink, and you might miss Wes Bentley, Michael Shannon or Tom Wopat. I still have no idea what they were doing in this movie, but they showed up somewhere on a call sheet.
Much of the creative editing of the film revolves around Megan Fox, who is determined to deliver a final death knell to her career. Sure, she’s attractive to a degree, but her face has had more work done on it than a beat-up hot rod at a chop shop. Her corset gives her a freakishly thin waist, and she’s glistening with sweat through the whole film…. and not sweaty in a “she’s so hot” sort of way, but rather in a “wow, hookers really didn’t bathe much back then” way.
I could spend the entire review bitching about Fox, her terrible acting and her embarrassing attempt at an accent that makes John Malkovich’s accent sound proper. But she’s really not in the film that much. It’s as if the producers realized what a liability she was and cut her from most scenes, then digitally smoothed out her famous blemishes in others.
Even with the short 80-minute running time, Fox is barely in the film. That’s all I have to say about that.
But don’t get me wrong. There were still some fun things in this movie. Josh Brolin leads that list. He’s not given much to work with, but the guy comes across well as the grisly scarred action hero of the Old West. Sure, he chews through the scenery with his heavily made-up face, but it’s a hoot if you don’t take things too seriously.
There’s also some great action sequences. We’re not talking “The A-Team” level of production, but for the guy looking for lots of shit getting blown up, you can do worse. Think of “Jonah Hex” as an Old West version of “The Losers.” Not much there in terms of story, but plenty of bullets and fireballs.
Like I said, it’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the kind of film I’d pay matinee prices for and enjoy on a Saturday afternoon… probably alone in the theater.