Review: JONAH HEX (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Review: JONAH HEX (2010)


At the first glance, JONAH HEX looks like something of a unique comic-book movie. Based on the cult DC comics of the same name, the movie's mix of old-fashioned fashion with additional supernatural twist is no doubt puts a fascinating spin on the genre. But too bad the movie is a train wreck from minute one. Heck, JONAH HEX was one of the most troubled productions ever seen in recent memory. Extreme writing team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, of CRANK fame, are originally slated to direct the movie but retained their screenwriting credits and chose to left the production due to "creative differences". Since then, the movie has underwent to several last-minute reshoots, with some tinkering by I AM LEGEND director Francis Lawrence. No doubt it's a bloated mess of epic proportions that what's left is a movie so bland and terribly uninspired it's very embarrassing to witness this as one of the worst comic-book adaptations ever made.

Set around the Civil War, we first learn that Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin), a dedicated Confederate soldier who is captured by the vengeful Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich) for responsible of killing his outlaw son. Turnbull made Hex watches his family is burned alive and brands him with a huge scar across the side of his face before disappearing into the night. Hex is then subsequently taken in by Native Americans, who bring him back from near death and granted him with the supernatural power to talk to the dead. But before Hex can exact his vengeance, he learns that Turnbull has already died and goes on becoming a bounty hunter where he travels the countryside. Every now and then, he will stop by to see Lilah (Megan Fox), a prostitute with a heart of gold and the only person she feels sympathy for the disfigured loner. Then Turnbull reappears out of nowhere to steal vital components to a mega-cannon from the U.S. government and the big heist on the train attack immediately put President Grant (Aidan Quinn) into full attention. He orders Lieutenant Grass (Will Arnett) to bring Hex in to take Turnbull down because he strongly believes that Hex is the country's only hope to stop the country's first "terrorist".

Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are hardly known for their subtlety in term of crafting a decent screenplay, which is as evident as their go-for-broke, extreme cinema of CRANK and CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE. But there's nothing extreme here whatsoever and instead, it's a terribly cliched script that goes as lazy as possible. The opening prologue is way too brief to explain the origin of what made Jonah Hex into a vigilante anti-hero and no amount of emotion are invested in Jonah's quest to kill Turnbull for slaying his family.

Despite its scant 80-minutes length, the movie remains a time waster which doesn't even know how to ape a least guilty-pleasure entertainment of any kind. Director Jimmy Hayward, whose sole directing credit comes from last year's HORTON HEARS A WHO!, was a lightweight filmmaker who is obviously a work-for-hire with little love of comic-book mythology whatsoever. He has no sense of pacing and style when comes to deliver engaging set pieces other than relying on random cuts and poorly-edited action sequences that is neither worthwhile or enjoyable.

The cast fares worst as well, with Josh Brolin is terribly wasted as Jonah Hex. Though he has the gruff look this side of Clint Eastwood, his supposedly cool-as-ice character is washed away by unremarkable dialogues and wooden acting. That also goes with John Malkovich, who hams it up in one of his worst bad-guy performances he ever handled in his career. Last but not least is the equally wasted Megan Fox, who is nothing more than looking sexy in a tight little corset.

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