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Whut ah reckon 'bout Jonah Hex...

So I watched a 6:55pm showing of Jonah Hex on Saturday. Probably no big surprise to anyone that knows me, but I disliked the movie.


To be fair I can understand the need or desire to streamline the back story of the character. Quentin Turnbull being responsible for his disfigurement rather than the Apache tribe Jonah was sold into, then focusing on Turnbull as the main villain while bringing up Jonah's Confederate army background and "betrayal" of Quentin Turnbull's son Jeb all in one shot.

But what's funny is they still needed random Native American's (who are never introduced nor explained) to explain the "I can talk to dead people and refuse to die" bits, so it didn't really help like it "should have." Also the whole crow popping out of Jonah's mouth to symbolize the removal of death was cringe-worthy.

I think the main problem with the streamlining was it made Jonah's character another typical superhero movie cliche of "my family was taken from me by {insert villain here}and I require vengeance!" when Hex, while having a strict moral eye-for-an-eye fiber to him, was never in the business of revenge. Hex is a bounty hunter. In this movie the bounty hunting is pretty much a side note for a 2 sided feud with Quentin Turnbull that was pretty much one-sided in the comics. While Hex eventually had limited happiness with a family of his own in the comics, he never had a family to avenge in the first place. Also there wasn't ever much need for revenge--as retribution in a Jonah Hex comic was usually swift and deserved. Even when it came to his father selling him into slavery as well as the Apache's who betrayed him and mauled his face it was never about revenge. Retribution and the honor of reputation maybe, but not this whole Punisher, Batman, Spider-Man vibe.

The alteration in the film in which Jonah Hex is given the ability to talk to corpses didn't really serve to do much but move the story along by providing a weak explanation of how Hex tracks down Turnbull rather than focus on his skill as a tracker. The back story between him and Jeb is fairly twisted and rather than Hex being tricked at Fort Charlotte and Jeb's death being an accident, the film has Hex as some kind of whistle blower on a Hospital raid during the Civil War in which he kills Jeb. Rather than actually writing or shooting any of this alternate "story", they just use the dead talk power to tell you this rather than show you which is pretty poor storytelling regardless of any alterations of the source material.

The take on Turnbull is clearly a post-9/11 vibe as his men say he is called the "Terroriste" by the Mexicans and his dynamiting Railroads and using Eli Whitney's left over tools of war after he created the cotton gin (which somehow involve explosive Dragonballs on a non-Transforming Broadside.

Also Hex's arsenal in the film actually made the character weaker in my opinion. Instead of being a sharpshooter with his twin Ivory handled Colt .45 Dragoons, there are the Twin Gatling Guns on Horseback (which still made me wince even though I knew they were coming) and also these ridiculous steampunk hand cannons (we'll call them). No point in being a sharpshooter or the fastest draw in the west when you can just unload 40,000 bullets into 5 men or fire a single shot from a modified Colt/Dynamite Firing/Crossbow hand cannon and blast the 6 men to your left, right and behind all with one shot where firing accuracy matters little.

I also should've known this from the leaked and promotional photos, but in the film with all the squinting close ups on his eyes, it is painfully obvious they did NOTHING to his eye on the scarred side of his face. I'm sure to most people, "who cares?" But it just may as well have been a whole 'nother movie to me.

I thought the scene between Lance Reddick and Brolin was not bad in that it at least gave a politically correct version of the revealing exchange that would take place between Hex and Solomon (Turnbull's black man-servent in Weird Western Tales).
Jonah's reasons for being in the Civil War had nothing to do with race and at least this was explored.

This is actually the first time I've seen Megan Fox in a movie. She couldn't really hold her accent, but was believable enough as a whore. Though I've heard criticism's regarding her character's eventual "damsel-ness", she seems to fight a pretty good fight to me. The Irish guy that finally captures her and takes her down also "kills" Hex, so I'd say she comes off better than Hex does in a fight anyway. Fox's gun fight was probably better than all the Gatling Gun, exploding hand cannon BS Hex does. Though when she lock picks their bonds and mentions that her hooker name is Lilah, but then states "Tallulah Black's momma didn't raise no idijits" or something along those lines it threw me for a loop. If Megan Fox is supposed to actually be Tallulah Black, that has got to be the worst casting I've ever seen. Seems like a Smallville fanboy nod gone horribly, HORRIBLY awry. Also having either the pleasure or misfortune of having known many an actress over the years, I have a sneaking suspicion if she let David Silver off the hook for coming out with her to the premiere of the movie, she's probably not all that proud of the movie or her work anyway.

Also plot points that didn't make much sense to me:

Hex's is wanted for $500 before the movie even starts and he guns down the "law" in the opening scene. Why is is wanted? What for?

President Grant grants Hex a pardon him at the end of film. For what?

We are never shown or told this to my recollection. Feel free to correct me on this if I'm in error.

(Also maybe it was just the center channel in the theater I was in, but dialogue felt really drowned out by that awful score).

Also the stupid plot device "dud" balls that are fired just before the nuclear Dragonballs are launched are insulting. For the first small town, I could buy them as testing out the launcher, but when they attack the capital, there's no reason why they shouldn't use all Dragonball ammo, other than to give Jonah and Lilah an "extra life" and/or create false suspense.

And Finally President Grant offering Hex the position Sheriff of America?!?! Stupid. Just stupid on so many levels.

This is probably better than Catwoman, Elektra or Man-Thing, but those movies are f-ing terrible. So Jonah Hex is just plain terrible and highly disappointing due to my interest in the real character. If The Spectre short is any indication of the standard quality of the DC Showcase shorts, I'll bet you the 11 minute DC Showcase short for Jonah Hex before Batman: Under The Red Hood with Thomas Jane is good though. Also if you have "yerself a hankering ta watch" some real Jonah Hex, give the motion comics a shot. They're are more entertaining and true to the comics then this film will ever be.
1 Yes
1 No
derekwc
6/21/2010

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2 Comments

Great review :)
teabag - 6/24/2010, 3:39 PM

ElMacho - 7/16/2013, 9:31 PM

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