Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex
John Malkovich as Quentin Turnbull
Megan Fox as Tallulah ‘Lilah’ Black
Michael Fassbender as Burke
Will Arnett as Lieutenant Grass
Lance Reddick as Smith
John Gallagher, Jr. as Lieutenant Evan
Tom Wopat as Colonel Slocum
Wes Bentley as Adelman Lusk
Aidan Quinn as Ulysses S. Grant
Directed by Jimmy Hayward
Dolby Surround 5.1 Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Spanish and French Language
Running Time: 82 Minutes
The following is the official description of the film:
“Out of the pages of the legendary comics and graphic novels steps Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin), a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of the last resort who has survived death and can track anyone…any anything. Jonah’s violent history is steeped in myth and legend and has left him with one foot in the natural world and one on the “other side.” His one human connection is with Lilah (Megan fox), whose life in a brothel has left her with scars of her own. But Jonah’s past catches up with him when the U.S. military makes him an offer he can’t refuse: to wipe out the warrants on his head, he must hunt and stop dangerous terrorists Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). But Turnbull, now gathering an army and preparing to unleash hell, is also Jonah’s oldest enemy and will stop at nothing until Jonah is dead.”
“Jonah Hex” is rated PG-3 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content.
I missed “Jonah Hex” when it was in theaters, and like you I saw all of the bad reviews. But I thought, “Surely it can’t be as bad as they’re saying.” Well I was wrong. It was pretty bad. And I can point to several specific examples of where it was bad.
Exhibit A – Horse With Gatling Guns – Early in the film Jonah Hex pulls a tarp off of his saddle and there are two Gatling guns on either side of his horse. The horse then moves calmly side to side as Jonah mows down the bad guys. That was a pretty early sign of how bad things were going to get.
Exhibit B – Jonah’s Make-up – As you know, the comic character has a horribly disfigured face. And to the film’s credit, the make-up looks like the comic character. But it simply doesn’t work in the film. Brolin’s speech is slurred and he looks more like someone in the middle of dental surgery than a comic book anti-hero. They even have him spill alcohol out the side of his mouth when he drinks for laughs. This ended up being a case where departing from the comic would have worked in the film’s favor.
Exhibit C – Megan Fox as Lilah – There’s no question that Fox is beautiful, but not even her beauty could make you forget the fact that this is a useless character. Lilah has no character and no charm. Fox sleepwalks through the movie and offers little reason why Jonah would be fond of her beyond sex. (Granted, that’s a compelling reason, but still…) She’s little more than a plot device for getting Jonah to walk into a trap in the finale.
Exhibit D – Snake Dude – This movie is filled with lost opportunities, and the introduction of a snake-like fighter is a prime example of that. Jonah walks into a fighting ring to interrogate someone and the movie goes out of its way to introduce a snake man who is tough and kills another fighter. You fully expect this to be the build-up of a fight between Jonah and the supernatural looking fellow, right? Wrong. Jonah walks out of the ring with the information he needs and we see no more of snake-guy. Pitiful!
Exhibit E – Everything is Green! – I personally like my Westerns dirty, dusty, and out West. Jonah Hex plants its story solidly in the deep South and everything is very green and Post-Civil War. Visually and tonally it doesn’t feel right at all.
Exhibit F – Rock Music in a Western – Rock music can fit into a Western (see Bon Jovi and “Young Guns” for an example), but electric guitars and rock ‘n roll drums don’t fit at all in “Jonah Hex.” It comes across as ultra-cheesy and a colossal mistake.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. This movie was consistently taken in the wrong direction in story, location, make-up, tone, cinematography, etc. I don’t think it would have taken many tweaks to fix it, but for whatever reason the creators didn’t make the changes. They paid for it at the box office.
If you want a good Western then hold out for the upcoming “True Grit” or “Cowboys & Aliens.” I have a feeling these films will show just how “Jonah Hex” could have been done correctly – a good script and a good merging of genres can do wonders for you.
Like with most movies that didn’t do well in theaters, the DVD is quite slim on bonus features. All you get are a few deleted scenes. You see Jonah Hex in New Orleans during a celebration and a little more of Lilah fending off lustful men with bad teeth. (She’s a prostitute with a heart of gold! She has standards, dudes!)