Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Jonah Hex

Jonah Hex
Starring:
Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich


Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 18, 2010 Released by: Warner Brothers

From the writers of "Crank" and director of Horton Hears a Who comes preposterous actioner barely watchable because of Josh Brolin.

His Jonah Hex, also starring Megan Fox (whose somewhat tangy and fangy Jennifer's Body bombed and isn't working for Michael Bay anymore) and John Malkovich (Changling).

The 19th-century setting is around the Reconstruction Era of a pretty violent 1970s DC Comics adaptation with some animated flashbacking at the outset. Helmer Jimmy Hayward quickly establishes that this is the kind of jumpy picture that any interested onlooker with ADD will enjoy as the incoherent hybrid of a romp that it is.

Brolin's scarred drifter and bounty hunter (maybe akin to Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli) is laconic and tough. He's out to get the man - Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich) - who decimated Jonah's family and branded his right cheek to remind some folks of the Harvey Dent character in The Dark Knight. Even though his only human connection, a hooker named Leila (Fox, quickly losing her "It-Girl" status), can't bed him long enough in order to realize he might have a good thing going.

Nevertheless, Brolin scowls and mutters a few snarky catch-phrase lines along the way. For those into the antecedent, having survived death, Jonah's tenuous existence is something of myth. He's partially in the real world and "the other side."

Filmed in Louisiana, this "supernatural western" with its "Snake Man", among those Jonah chats with, is grounded mostly on the East Coast. But, that doesn't matter for what is a crazy and fairly bloody ride (given its rating) for those in tune with hard-rock music and Gatling guns ablazin'.

Amid all the action which grow repetitious, some attempts at levity pop up in what some may consider well-crafted but really is visually vapid as Fox and Malkovich, flinty but not ominous, appear to be going through the motions. Given all the credits, the actual run-time (with our Nation's Capitol at the mercy of an anarchist) is probably 20 minutes or so less than Toy Story 3, something far less random and much closer to complete entertainment.

Actually, the most surprising thing is the cast assembled here, including Aidan Quinn as President Grant, Will Arnett, Wes Bentley, and, briefly, Michael Shannon (check out The Runaways and Revolutionary Road). But, even they don't register much in something this cheeky and translucent as Brolin tries his utmost for Jonah to earn his redemption with grit and determination. Could he be another legend in the making like the iconic Eastwood? Perhaps, even if this Hex is more spaghetti than gripping gun-slinging western.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Jonah Hex  D      D         D-         D 

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