Jonah Hex One Hot Mess

As special effects progressed and stories got more creative, the western became an increasingly difficult genre to sell to the general public.  Compared to 40 and 50 years ago, the days of cowboys and Indians on the big screen is pretty much non-existent.  How does one revive the category or even get one good film out there?  You’ve got to break the formula.  The concept of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” no longer applies here.  I, for one, am probably like most of the movie-goers out there when it comes to westerns; there’s just no getting me into it.  If Dances With Wolves is considered a western, well, then there are two films I enjoy in that grouping (the other being The Outlaw Josey Wales).  So, back to that formula…how do you bring in the masses?  Take one Johnny Reb and mix him up with some spirits. No, I’m not talking about a bottle of Jack Daniels.  I mean the real deal supernatural kind that haunt houses and roam undesirable places like abandoned mansions, cemeteries or under your bed.

Trailing behind Marvel in the amount of comics-turned-film, DC delivers their latest effort, Jonah Hex.  Josh Brolin dons Confederate gray in the role of the once family man, now vigilante character bearing the film’s namesake.  The film runs a strong parallel to The Outlaw Josey Wales in that both are men capable with a gun and want to live out their lives as a family man minding their own business.  Then one day some really evil dude comes along and takes that all away from them.  In the case of Jonah Hex, that bad dude is John Malkovich as the dastardly Quentin Turnbull.  You know when you want to reach through the screen and choke the bad guy that the actor must be doing one hell of a job, and even as good as Malkovich normally is, the only person I wanted to run out of town was the director.

What a complete reel of rubbish this film was!  Okay, maybe not completely, but 99% of it was and rest assured, it had nothing to do with my lack of flair for westerns.  Alright, let me get straight to the point about Megan Fox so I can get that out of the way.  Yes she looked hot, blah, blah, blah.  That’s a one-trick pony and can only get you by for so long.  In other words, I wasn’t impressed.  Brolin’s acting fits the Hex character to a ‘t’, but the quality of acting is neither here nor there as far as this film’s critiquing goes.  At a surprisingly brief seventy-two minutes or so, I experienced a piece of work that felt like a two-hour drawn out puddle of tar that I was trying to swim out of.

Character development was lower than a bad day at the New York Stock Exchange.  The last time I felt this detached from a group of characters was in the Johnny Depp/Christian Bale pairing of Public Enemies.  Another shot to the gut was the pace of the action.  It was so annoyingly frantic at times that it wasn’t action, but a very rushed sequence of storytelling…and I use the word ‘storytelling’ in its loosest sense.  This plot was quite forced as well.  It was like having a diet of all meat and no prunes.  Somebody must have popped a vein pushing this one through.

The sound was yet another huge minus to this film too.  The dialogue sounded overly tinny at times, like the lines were recorded on some low quality equipment meant for the straight-to-Mexico home video market.  Then there was the electric guitar.  Good God in Heaven how could I forget that overbearing, harsh noise someone called a soundtrack?  Throughout the film, this electric guitar would kick in to set the mood.  Not only was it distracting, it quite often muffled the conversations on the screen, and wouldn’t you know it, I FINALLY got to watch a movie at the theater where people weren’t talking around me.  So much for utilizing that benefit.  Murphy’s Law I guess.

If you told me a group of college kids made this movie as their first attempt at filmmaking, I would say, “Brilliant! They did a lot with a little. It’s like the second coming of Robert Rodriguez and El Mariachi!”  But we all know this is a Hollywood flick through and through and one that strongly mimics the function of a vacuum by the time it’s over.  Fox teases with her cleavage, Brolin shoots people, and Malkovich is mean and he shoots people too.  Yay.  The trio does not pull off anything memorable here and director Jimmy Hayward will likely spend the next eight months living in the FBI’s witness protection program for fear of personal harm after releasing something that is entertaining as a comic book but atrocious as a film.





4 Responses to “Jonah Hex One Hot Mess”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    What sucks is that studios will see how bad this is and not want to fund westerns anymore. Not that they fund them all that anymore, Jonah Hex will be the final nail in the western genre coffin.

    It pisses me off. I love westerns!


  2. Brian White

    I would not worry about that. This film wasn’t a western… it was MESSTERN.

  3. Bob Ignizio

    The shame of it is that Brolin was perfectly cast, and if this had been a better written and directed movie they might well have had a franchise here.

    And Gregg, you gotta’ watch some more westerns. I had to force myself to do it, but once I did I found there’s a lot of good ones out there. I even got past my aversion to John Wayne and discovered the guy starred in some pretty enjoyable flicks.

  4. Gregg

    I have seen The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly but I thought that film was bad. The direction was head-scratching. Some Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns are okay, but as for John Wayne, I honestly cannot say I’ve sat through an entire western of his. That’s not a critique on his movies, just a case of distraction, etc.