What The "Hex" Am I Watching?

Movie Review: Jonah Hex (2010)
Spoilers: none


Josh Brolin and John Malkovich star in Jonah Hex, a revenge/action thriller that takes place during the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.

A formidable army veteran-turned-terrorist, Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich) has lost his way. In his plot to destabilize the young United States through incendiary, secretive government technology, the only worthy opponent is one man, Jonah Hex (Brolin), who stands able and ready to oppose him.

The scarred-for-life, hungry-for-vengeance vigilante killer with a cryptic necromantic gift is offered a clean record in exchange for taking down Turnbull, and thus, securing the nation. Hex's close brush with death bestows upon him the ability to make contact with the damned in the spirit world and “pump” them for information.

The original Hex character storyline in the comics may have done well at churning up fears of contacting the impudent dead as they await roasting, in fear of approaching hellhounds, in the curious setting of a slightly techno-fied version of the old west. But the movie is an un-energized and one-dimensional bore that itself gets closer to the flat-line right to the end.

While none of the performances are to be repudiated on their merits, not a single one stands out as convincing, not even an always-gorgeous Megan Fox as Hex's confidant, Lilah. The amazing John Malkovich himself fails to bring home the focused fanaticism that Turnbull is supposed to exhibit. We're not dealing with that disturbed Mitch Leary that we remember from In The Line of Fire (1993), who made it his mission to get back at the government by assassinating the president.

And while Brolin may not quite have the flare of Eastwood in his cowboy days, he also didn't have a foundation on which to build it. The too-straightforward story lacks build-up, but when it would almost start to appeal in its simplicity, it begins to lag in the tendency to drift off into light cliché-dom:

“Please, let the innocent go.”
“There are no innocents.”

And it looks like there may not be any happy viewers, either; at least, not very many.

Based off of the cryptic DC comic book character, Jonah Hex the movie is a “dead” resurrection of a flawed hero nobody cares for or looks forward to seeing, making it – on the face of it – a pointless put-together that, frankly, amounts to a near waste of film. 



Grade: D- (1 star)
Rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content)
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Summary: The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth. 
Starring: Josh Brolin "Jonah Hex," John Malkovich "Quentin Turnbull," Megan Fox "Lilah," Michael Fassbender "Burke," Will Arnett "Lieutenant Grass"
Genre: Action / Drama / Thriller / Western