Sometimes reviewers can be quite harsh, but let me assure you, we love movies and are willing to give almost anything a chance (sorry Shank). Having said that, after seeing the posters and trailers for Jonah Hex, I found myself saying, “Megan Fox! She’s an actress? She’s barely a human”. Which is fine because Jonah Hex is barely a movie.
Set in the old West of 1876, the time of America’s centennial, Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is a gruff bounty hunter whose scarred visage can be seen on wanted posters everywhere he goes. Hex is out for revenge on the man who not only gave him his scar but killed his wife and child; Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), his psychotic commanding officer.
After Turnbull’s attack on Hex’s family, Native Americans find Hex and bring him back from near death, leaving him with the ability to talk to the deceased. Apparently, Hex doesn’t think to use this power to talk to his wife or child. Anyhow, when Union army soldiers discover that Turnbull’s latest plan is to destroy America with what can only be described as steam-punk weapon of mass destruction, Hex is on his trail with trusty hooker sidekick Lilah (Megan Fox).
Though usually reliable, John Malkovich sleepwalks through his role, relying on Michael Fassbender to bring us a decent villain as his evil Irish sidekick Burke. Will Arnett is wasted as a Union soldier and Wes Bentley struggles as a wealthy Southern gentleman being blackmailed by Turnbull (his accent sounds like a cross between Jamaican and Irish). Megan Fox is clearly too young/untalented to play the only stable person in Hex’s life and their pointless relationship never has a satisfying payoff. You would think if anyone could play a hooker, it’d be Megan Fox but she even managed to fail at that.
I will say this, for all its faults, Jonah Hex does have some top notch stunt work and Hex’s Gatling-gun wielding horse is a particular highlight, but sadly it’s a one-scene wonder. It really does speak volumes when the highlight of a film is a horse.
Although Jimmy Hayward is listed as the director, after the fifth explosion, I was sure this was a Michael Bay production. Every five minutes something goes boom, which is a lot considering that in total this film is just 82 minutes long. At times you almost feel like the film was created purely from the out-takes of Wild Wild West. I half expected a giant mechanical spider to swoop in and crush the life out of a mumbling Josh Brolin.
The premise is interesting enough but for some reason, the whole thing’s been edited down to the bare essentials leaving it dead behind the eyes. Its tone is wildly uneven and certain scenes wind up being totally irrelevant. Towards the end of the film we’re treated to two fights (one real, one imaginary) between Turnbull and Hex that are intercut and shown at the same time. Why? One’s enough for anyone.