Jonah Hex

Okay, I’m not gonna lie: This was not that bad. It had a lot of style, Josh Brolin was pretty great, I loved the dog, and you kind of had me at “paranormal post-Civil War weird west with steampunky overtones.” Granted, the problems were many and varied, but the major ones would’ve been so easy to rectify that it annoys me how no one did.

I’m going to keep my thoughts brief, and put them behind a cut because there will be spoilers. So if you’re reading this through a direct link and you want to keep your eyeballs pure, stop reading now. Otherwise, click the jump below.

1. This movie needed an R rating. Jonah Hex was supposed to be a total balls-to-the-wall weird shoot-em-up action flick with sinister supernatural elements, but the “violence against civilians” (which is intended to establish the villain) is alluded to but never depicted; and even in the boss fights, the camera immediately cuts away to the aftermath. Likewise, if you’re going to deliberately insert Megan Fox into the story in order for her to be sexy, maybe don’t fade to black within two or three seconds of the one time you actually see her kiss the hero. Look, I’m not suggesting that each frame ought to include at least one detonating toddler holding a blind kitten or anything – nor that every moment with Fox on the screen ought to involve writhing, posing, and sexyface deployment … but when every single one of these punches is pulled, it undercuts the whole shebang.

2. Megan Fox’s character served literally no purpose at all. I’m not bagging on her personally; she wasn’t the problem. The problem is that “Lilah” has no reason to exist. I haven’t read the comics, so for all I know it’s a different case therein, but on the big screen this character could’ve been removed wholesale and the story would’ve probably been better for it. I mean, even the obligatory “kidnap the girl to lure him out” move was utter baloney. All the bad guys had to do was hold still for ten minutes. Hex was coming for them anyway! They could’ve kicked back, had a few beers, sent Hex a Hallmark card (“Dear Jonah: Thinking of you, at the following coordinates …”) and he would’ve been there lickity split. No kidnapping of prostitutes required, and I would not be sitting here struggling with myself over whether or not I should mention that there was no good reason for the bad guys to know where she was, but they found her without incident even though she was no longer at the same brothel and had, by the looks of things, maybe moved to Mexico.

3. That pesky space-time continuum. First of all, what year is this again? Supposedly it’s coming up on July 4th, 1876 for the national centennial; but Jonah and Turnbull keep going on about waiting six years for vengeance or whatever with regards to something that happened during the Civil War. Now I’m no math whiz, but something doesn’t add up. Of course, as freshly confessed, I’m no math whiz and I might have missed something. I sure as hell missed how these people were teleporting around from Texas or Mexico (or wherever), Georgia, Charleston SC, and to Washington D.C. as if these places are within spitting distance of one another … despite the fact that the timeline for the story is established early on. Ten days. The president has ten days to stop Turnbull. So all this traveling, in 1876 (or whenever), is taking place by horse (the same horse, mind you) and the horse never once bucks Hex right to the ground and gives him a lecture on how fast a horse can be expected to go and for how long before that horse has had just about enough, thank you very much, and the rider should look into an alternate means of transportation if he’s in such a big freaking hurry.

Anyway. Yes, I believe I said I’d be brief. This wasn’t the briefest of all possibly entries, I realize. But really, those were my only big beefs. Overall, I enjoyed Jonah Hex, and if it wasn’t a great masterpiece of genre cinema, well, that’s okay. I wasn’t expecting one anyway.

All in all I give it a solid C+, or maybe a B- if I grade it on the Wild Wild West curve.

Last Modified on June 20, 2010
this article Jonah Hex

8 thoughts on “Jonah Hex

  1. Hahahahaha ooohh haaaaaaa [:: gasps for breath ::] hahaha… ah.
    this post is great! I haven’t seen the film, but this review is freakin’ hilarious. Well done.
    Hell, I din’ even know there was a Jonah Hex film. Shows how outta the loop I am. I’ve read a few of the books – I believe there is a significant female, but at first glance it would appear the relationship is more interesting (and more destructive for all parties) than in the film.

  2. OMG, you said “boss fight.”

  3. Duane

    This movie bore the same resemblance to the comics as the “Wild Wild West” movie did to the TV series; almost none. Kept the character names, threw away everything else. Bah.

  4. jack

    I believe I’m more disappointed in this than I was in Ghostrider. And that was a whole lot of disappontment.

    Jonah Hex should have been a grungy, Joe R. Landsdale ride of non-stop wierd westernness.

    And ugly. No pretty face actors at all.

    Granted, I’m making judgments without seeing the movie myself but I have a feeling I don’t need to spend $20 bucks to know that the comic JH would have kicked this movie’s ass.

  5. Kat

    IMO, this movie would have been vastly improved if it hadn’t taken itself quite so seriously. A ‚Äúparanormal post-Civil War weird west with steampunky overtones” would’ve been *awesome*… but what they got was a flick that succeeded in being simply a dull rehash of overdone tropes and stereotypes, with some bizarre weaponry thrown in for laughs. Or, more likely, thrown in to look badass, but failed. Personally, I burst out laughing when he whipped off the covers of his … MACHINE GUN HORSE. Then I stopped, because it occurred to me it was probably supposed to look badass, not hilarious.

    If they’d been a bit more tongue-in-cheek about it, I would’ve had no problem whatsoever. “Ohai, you seem to be betraying me and gosh there’s an extra coffin but guess what? MACHINE GUN HORSE!” Alas.

  6. The entire movie would have been saved for me if once — just once — someone had looked up and said, “Wait, seriously? We’re going to go with that? Okay, then.”

    I’m all for camp. But, imo, the reason Batman-esque camp worked is that we all knew Burt and Adam were in on the joke. Josh and Megan didn’t seem to “get it.”

  7. dcart

    I feel very similarly about this. They got away with an awful lot for a PG-13, but this should have been an R rated movie. I wonder how much Megan Fox they left on the cutting room floor for an “unrated version” DVD.

    I think my biggest disappointment, though, is that whether they had gone more serious and for the “R” rating or more campy and silly for the PG-13, we could have had a whole more Malkovich/Brolin scenes and it would have been better.

  8. P

    Thank you for posting this! We were debating on seeing this film. Now I know to save the $20. :p

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