Jonah Hex (2010) Movie Review

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As unlikely as it sounds, the best film this weekend doesn’t concern a tired assembly of discarded playthings gussied up in 3D. “Jonah Hex” is a testosterone fueled thrill ride, a flawed but fantastically entertaining adventure in the ever so wild west. Forget Woody and Buzz, the wildest ride this weekend ends with a hex.

Jonah Hex has a scarred face and vengeance burned deep in his heart and you can’t really blame him. As a Confederate soldier, his family was burned alive after he killed the son of his psychotic commanding officer. As a memento of the occasion, his commander also burns his initials into Hex’s face so he never forgets who took everything he loved from him. Hex turns to bounty hunting, taking out his fury on those unfortunate enough to have a price on their heads big enough to attract his attention. But it seems his old commander, Quentin Turnbull, is back to his old tricks. None too happy the South lost the Civil War, he’s stolen a weapon of immense destructive power to help the South rise again. Only Hex can stop his nemesis from leveling Washington D.C. during America’s first centennial–and settle an old score in the process.

Casting Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex was nothing short of genius, he literally is the ornery ol’ cuss/one man army that is Hex. Makeup effects on the title character is impressive, making his scarring look painfully realistic. As Turnbull, John Malkovich smartly plays his character with a restrained internal evil. He speaks softly, but his actions are lethal and deadly and he’s no one to underestimate. Lance Reddick of “Fringe” fame cameos as Hex’s armorer and possibly only friend; but he’s really there just to show that Hex isn’t racist, but just opposed the Union during the Civil War because he didn’t like being told what to do. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a nice uncredited turn as Turnbull’s son and former friend, whose death resulted in Jonah’s life barreling downhill.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Megan Fox is useless as Hex’s love interest, who appears briefly before being used as bait to capture him in the finale. Serving little purpose in the movie save for eye candy, she really doesn’t justify whatever it cost to sign her. Wes Bentley is seen equally briefly as a spy for Turnbull, but he’s barely in the film to make any impact. Aidan Quinn is a fine actor cast in a juicy part of President Ulysses S. Grant, but he’s reduced to sitting in his office looking concerned and wringing his hands. Not exactly what you’d expect from the leader of the free world.

The running time for “Jonah Hex” is a brief 80 minutes, and normally that would be a problem. But director Jimmy Hayward lets it all zip by, stopping briefly for an edifying plot point before leaping back into rousing gunfire. Special commendations go to scripters Brian Taylor, William Farmer, and Mark Nevedine, who combine the western and mystical aspects of the character into a coherent and immensely entertaining movie. The opening animation scenes are visually modern with a western flair, a perfect tribute to the film’s DC Comics roots.

“Jonah Hex” isn’t a perfect film. but it’s a helluva lot of fun. Briskly paced, and chock full of pyrotechnic action, it’s the perfect antidote to this year’s summer blahs. Let Woody and his pals sit in the toy box, you’ll have way more fun riding with Jonah.

Jimmy Hayward (director) / William Farmer , Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (screenplay)
CAST: Josh Brolin … Jonah Hex
John Malkovich … Quentin Turnbull
Megan Fox … Lilah
Michael Fassbender … Burke
Will Arnett … Lieutenant Grass
John Gallagher Jr. … Lieutenant Evan
Tom Wopat … Colonel Slocum
Michael Shannon … Doc Cross Williams
Wes Bentley … Adleman Lusk
Julia Jones … Cassie


Buy Jonah Hex on DVD

Author: Joseph Savitski

Joseph is a contributing writer for BeyondHollywood.com and ScifiCool.com, where he critiques movies, television, and books. He lives in PA, and obsessively loves movies, books, and the New York Yankees.
  • Bradleytx86

    Seriously? Did the studios pay you for this review or do you just genuinely have really bad taste?

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

    Well DUH. Obviously the reviewer is either really dumb or is totally corrupt, since how could anyone POSSIBLY disagree with you when it comes to movies, Bradleytx86. After all, you're Bradleytx86. You're like, really smart, and have super taste in movies and junk. You da man, Bradleytx86!

  • Doubleh55

    Nix, it's a pretty fair question, kinda. I doubt the studios pay people to write reviews for this site. However, the review totally reeks of Earl Dittman.

    “chock full of pyrotechnic action, it’s the perfect antidote to this year’s summer blahs” That's the kind of line studios use in their poster for terrible movies.

    Not to mention that Toy Story 3 is being considered genius and currently has 155 positive reviews to 2 negatives. It's also going to end up with over 100 million dollars which actually cures the summer blahs.

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

    Haha. If you've read any of Joseph's previous reviews, you'll know that's just how he writes. It's his style. I'll leave defending the review to Joseph, if he's so inclined, but like him (and probably most of the people who read our site), a comic book movie about a guy with a pizza face is always going to get top priority over the third installment of a kiddie CG movie, blockbuster status/gobs of money notwithstanding. It's probably the same reason why our readership would rather watch “Ninja Assassin” all over again then, say, “Mamma Mia”.

  • Joseph

    My job as reviewer for this site is to see a film, then write my honest opinion on how I felt about it. That's how the game works everyone. I left Jonah Hex and I honestly loved the film. Was it perfect? Anyone who read my review could see I found flaws in it, especially with Megan Fox (btw Bradtx86, were I a plant, I would be praising Ms. Fox like there's no tomorrow). This is my opinion, I honestly enjoyed this movie. Please learn to grow the hell up deal with it. Not everyone who disagrees with you has terrible taste.

    As for Doubleh55, my writing really style hasn't changed in the six years writing for this site. It's amazingly ignorant to say my review sounds like a plant when you can't even be bothered to at least check out one or two of my older reviews. Get your facts straight before you start flinging out brainless insults.

    Joseph

  • Doubleh55

    So you're saying that all your reviews are written with the goal of getting on a poster?

  • Joseph

    A better question for you is: Do you bother to read responses before you ask questions? As I said, I write my honest opinion, good or bad. That's what a reviewer does. If I wanted to get on a poster I'd make a movie myself.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    So Hex got slaughtered at the box office. Did anyone think different? Father's Day Weekend…and a kid's movie comes out. What are the odds of Hex doing well against that? Not saying the movie is good or bad (haven't seen it yet) but it's B.O. take shouldn't be it's only measure. It really shoulda been an April, or fall release.

    As for the review, if Joseph liked the film that's his opinion. WHether you did or not is a different story? However neither person has stated whether they liked the film or have even seen it. Just going by the fact that it got slaughtered and that any good reviews must be a plant.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    Exactly!!! We like fun, over the top, nonsensical flicks sometimes. That doesn't make us bad reviewers, it makes us less closed minded. Not every action or comicbook film will be “The Dark Knight,” or “Iron Man.”

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