PaulRom Reviews: Jonah Hex

PaulRom Reviews: <I>Jonah Hex</i>

Better late than never (or in this case, VERY late). Is Jimmy Hayward's live action debut as bad as everyone says, or is it a severely underrated gem? Hit the jump for my take...

Sorry for being about a year late with this review. I was initially turned off by the critical bashing of DC/Warner Bros' offering last year, Jonah Hex, but I eventually decided to watch it to see just how bad it really was. And for those who haven't noticed, I'm usually generous in my reviewing films (just read my reviews for Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine and you'll understand), but I can't say I'll be very generous with this film.



Jonah Hex picks up a few years after the end of the US Civil War. The family of the title character (Josh Brolin) being burned to death by Quentin Turnball (John Malkovich) to avenge the death of his son (slain by Hex sometime prior to the film's beginning). He then places a permanent mark on Hex's face as a reminder of the events. Hex, having a heart full of vengeance, is determined to avenge the death of his family, and goes on a journey to locate Turnball and kill him. He's accompanied by gun-wielding prostitute Lilah (Megan Fox), and battles enemies such as Burke (Michael Fassbender).

Overall, the biggest problem with Jonah Hex is its atrocious script. So much dialogue felt out of place and unnecessary (such as when Lilah started naming Hex's gun wounds, Hex naming his horse "Horse", etc), it only piles into the empty spots of substance in the film overall (there isn't much substance to begin with). Another problem was the overall scoring of the project. Don't get me wrong - I love rock music, it's probably my favorite genre - but the way it was used in Hex made it seem VERY out of place (the opening title made me feel like I was watching a TV show). It does offer some solid Western scoring, however, but all the rock n' roll that was used didn't offer anything other than making the film feel like I was watching an extended trailer or something.

Another big problem with Jonah Hex is its hit-and-miss acting. Josh Brolin did his best with what he was given, at least bringing a solid appearance of Hex to life on screen. Megan Fox was hot as Lilah, but that's probably the only good thing I can say about her performance. Heck, I wonder why they even included the character in the story to begin with. She doesn't do much other than sling guns, shoot, have sex, sling guns, etc. - not needed in the story at all. I always found John Malkovich to be a respectable actor, but he doesn't do a very good job here, needless to say. His character is a bit too predictable. Not even Michael Fassbender could save the day as perhaps the strongest performance in the film next to Brolin's as Hex. To round out the main cast, Aidan Quinn is decent as President Ulysses S. Grant, and Will Arnett is okay as Lieutenant Grass.

Yet another problem with the film is its (very) short pace. At around 81 minutes, Jonah Hex feels too rushed, with little to no character development and some characters appearing before they're gone in a flash (I even missed Michael Shannon's appearance in the film, his role was that small). For example, it seems like Hex did know Lilah at some point before the film's events, but it doesn't go any farther than that. Why? I don't know, but it only made Lilah's being in the film less acceptable. Also, they should have depicted some of Hex's work in the Civil War before his face was disfigured (about three minutes of random shots in the opening credits weren't enough), because I think it would help Hex seem more likable to the general audience than otherwise.

With all this tearing the film apart, you may wonder if there was anything that I liked about it. Well, the action is undeniably entertaining. Granted, I enjoyed films such as G.I. Joe and Transformers (the first and third one anyways), but none of those seemed to lack as much substance as Jonah Hex. But to be fair, Hex has plenty of edge-of-the-seat action and explosions, but that's probably the only thing that the film really succeeds in.

In the end, I don't think Jonah Hex is quite as bad as people make it out to be, but it isn't saying much. If you've disliked many of DC/WB's films before, this won't change your mind at all. In fact, it'll only strengthen your belief that DC has yet to put out a truly great film other than Superman or Batman.

A handful of solid performances and non-stop action can't excuse Jonah Hex's terrible script, mediocre dialogue, and very short running time/pace.
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PaulRom Reviews: Jonah Hex

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Better late than never (or in this case, VERY late). Is Jimmy Hayward's live action debut as bad as everyone says, or is it a severely underrated gem? Hit the jump for my take...
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