Movie Review: Jonah Hex

BY DANIEL WHITE | JUNE 21, 2010 7:30 AM

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* out of *****

Jonah Hex is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

From the start, the audience is dragged through a tired cliché of “bad guy killed my family” backstory. Fine, whatever — a compelling story line isn’t necessarily what is expected from a graphic-novel movie anyway. It’s the creative content that captivates the viewer: super powers, genius villains, epic fight scenes, ass-kicking beauties — all the exciting accessories fiction permits.

But Jonah Hex succeeds at none of these.

The only super power Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) possesses is the ability to talk to the dead. This ability decreases in amusement for the audience exponentially with each use. It was like seeing a magician perform the same magic trick repeatedly for two hours; it quickly loses its luster. But as lame as the protagonist was, the antagonist was even more of a disappointment.

Quenton Turnbull (John Malkovich) has no superior intelligence, wealth, or abilities whatsoever. He is simply an angry old Confederate soldier on a mission to destroy the Union. Miraculously, this ordinary man and his militia of undereducated Southern country boys manage to outsmart the Army, infiltrate secret armories, and construct a weapon of mass destruction designed by Eli Whitney. Yes, the same Eli Whitney who invented the cotton gin. In this world, he also created the first prototype of the atomic bomb.

Scared and intimidated, President Ulysses S. Grant ignores advice from his general and decides the best course of action is to conscript Hex into service and entrust the future of the United States in one man’s hands.

After this point, the movie is entirely predictable and too short on action to make it worth watching. The fight scenes fail to deliver any epic action and are even painful to look at. At one point, Brolin shoots a stick of dynamite from a crossbow at two-dozen Confederates and they all conveniently fly to the ground dead. Also, the weapon of mass destruction created by Whitney turns out to be just a really big cannon. And the final duel between Brolin and Malkovich is about as cheesy as the duels on the original “Star Trek.”

And then there’s Megan Fox. She plays a hooker and she’s madly in love with Jonah. Throughout the film she can be seen wearing a tight corset and fish-net stockings — all quality entertainment.

Unfortunately, she is barely present until the second half of the movie. It isn’t until Turnbull learns of Hex’s hooker and kidnaps her that the audience sees much of her.

After the kidnapping though, Fox is a force to be reckoned with and begins gunning down Confederates alongside Brolin. She delivers in this movie where others do not. Just don’t be lured in by the previews, which make it seem like the she has a large lead role.

If you like graphic-novel movies and Western-steam punk movies, go rent The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Wild Wild West. Neither were actually that great, but both still manage to make Jonah Hex look like a joke.

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