Now on DVD: "Jonah Hex" is Heartless Killer, Senseless Movie
One part Kill Bill. One part Sin City. One part unfocused work behind the camera. That's the recipe for Jonah Hex, the latest attempt from Warner Bros. to take a DC Comics creation and put it to the big screen.
Jonah Hex follows the title character, Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) who is a legendary bounty hunter living in 1876. The consensus view of Jonah is that he is a heartless killer who does his job and just wants to get paid. Jonah's violent motivation changes from money to revenge when the US Military enlists his assistance to capture Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich)
Quentin Turnbull had killed Jonah's wife and son just a couple years earlier, but Jonah had abandoned his revenge when Turnbull was thought to have been killed in a fire. Now, with the knowledge that he's alive and he has plans on destroying the United States of America on it's 100th birthday, Jonah's desire for vengeance is higher than it's ever been before.
In that sense, the film is much like Kill Bill. There's the same drive for violent revenge from the lead character due to the murder of close family members. In another sense, it's like Sin City, because it's so much style over substance and ridiculous, over the top violence over plot development. There are so many unanswered questions and poorly played out story lines that that's where the unfocused work from behind the camera comes into play.
One major gripe I have is with Megan Fox's character. She plays Lilah...a prostitute that Jonah has a relationship with and I guess you could classify them as friends. I say "I guess" because the film treats them as though they are quite close even though they have little interaction and when they do interact, it's cold and simple. There is a moment in the movie when Jonah is presented with protecting Lilah or getting closer to killing Turnbull. Whether he chooses one way or the other is irrelevant...it's the fact that he's actually torn. There hasn't been any sort of back and forth between the two characters to suggest that he means a great deal to him and the film has painted him as wanting nothing more than to kill Quentin Turnbull. So what is so special about Lilah that the heartless Jonah Hex would feel some deep concern to save her?
I don't want to make the movie sound completely awful. Josh Brolin is quite good in his role and the action is fun and well shot, I just don't understand the motivation of some of the characters or what makes them tick. If you can't get a pulse on even one character, you spent the whole movie feeling lost.
Jonah Hex is rated PG-13 for violence and some language. I'm kind of surprised it didn't gain an R rating just for the fact that it's very violent and carries a dark tone the whole film. I would suspect most teenagers should be able to handle it, but any younger and it might scare or rattle the viewer. So don't take the young ones to this movie.
Overall I'd give Jonah Hex 1.5 out of 5. Some entertaining action sequences, but a lot of nonsensical character to character interaction.
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