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Film Review: "Jonah Hex"
June 17, 2010
by: Jared Counts
(Warner Brothers. 1 hour, 20 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, disturbing images and sexual content. Directed by Jimmy Hayward.) Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex), John Malkovich (Quentin Turnbull), Megan Fox (Lilah), Michael Fassbender (Burke), Will Arnett (Lieutenant Grass). Music by Marco Beltrami and John Powell.
After turning against his ruthless commander Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich), Confederate soldier Jonah Hex (Brolin) is forced to watch as his family is murdered and he is left horribly scarred. When Turnbull threatens to destroy the Capitol with a long-lost superweapon, Jonah sets out to exact his revenge. A decent but troubled comic adaptation.
Despite its flaws, Jonah Hex does some things very well. The setting is fascinating: a steampunk-inspired, alternate-Old West in which horse-mounted gatling guns and dynamite-firing mini-crossbows exist. These items from Jonah's arsenal come courtesy of the criminally-underused Smith (Lance Reddick), the 19th century's answer to James Bond's Q. Brolin ably shoulders the film and brings a grim humor to an interesting character, while Malkovich plays a capable villain (big surprise there). However, not all is well out on the prairie. I've never been convinced of Megan Fox's acting abilities, and her poor performance here won't change that. Also, the film's pacing is haphazard at best, lingering too long in one place and flat-out rushing through others. The film clocks in at a trim 80 minutes, but it feels diminished for it. Another round of editing and a bit more polish, and Jonah Hex could've lived up to its potential. The ideas are there, but the execution is sadly lacking. Might want to wait for a rental.