Film Review: Jonah Hex

2010 – 81mn - 15

Directed by Jimmy Hayward. Starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Michael Fassbender.

Review by Walter Nichols

A SUMMER car crash in September, Jonah Hex is the brainchild of Oscar-nominated actor Josh Brolin, who thought the film could be the beginning of his own franchise. The original Jonah Hex comic book is a gory, irreverent Western about a cynical bounty hunter whose face is horribly scarred on the right side. A ruthless killer, he is nevertheless bound by a personal code of honor to protect and avenge the innocent.

The film, directed by Horton Hears a Who’s Jimmy Hayward (that’s right), takes the character in garish Wild Wild West territory. Here Hex (Brolin) has unexplained supernatural powers – he can bring the dead back to life and speak to them – and a predictable grudge against crazed madman Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), who killed his family and is responsible for the scarring on his face. The cast is rounded up by rising star Michael Fassbender, playing Turnbull’s cartoony Irish henchman, and Megan Fox, as a wisecracking, no-nonsense prostitute Hex gets tangled up with.

The result is a loud, nutty, incoherent mess, more reminiscent of Will Smith’s James West than Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah. Gone is the subversion and the outrageousness. In are big guns, explosions, and a skull-crushing rock soundtrack. Brolin is good, and Megan Fox is even sexier and sultrier than usual (she’s even – sshh – kind of good). Without them Jonah Hex would be excruciating. Even with them, the tedious 81-minute runtime feels like weeks. Halfway through you’ll be wishing someone would just scar your face and let you get on with your life.

Star rating: 1 out of 5 stars