Jonah Hex 2010
I hadn’t heard anything very good about this movie, it pretty much tanked at the box office, even my wife didn’t really like it very much. I don’t watch too many westerns, but I do occasionally enjoy them, especially westerns with a slight sci-fi twist, something along the lines of the rarely duplicated Brisco County Jr. So my expectations were fairly low coming into this movie and I was not let down. I was surprised that it wasn’t a horrible movie by any means, it was just mediocre. There weren’t any laughably bad scenes with cheesy acting nor were there any edge of your seat action setpieces. The concepts were far-fetched, the humor was uneven, and the action was nothing special. I didn’t hate it, but I won’t be eager to watch it again anytime soon.
Jonah Hex is a defector from the Southern army near the end of the Civil War, he killed his best friend in a disagreement over a direct order to burn down a hospital. The superior officer in question also happened to be his best friend’s father who tracks Jonah down to his home with his wife and children and burns them alive while forcing him to watch in revenge before branding him in the face with his initials. From what I understand, in the comics Hex was just a disfigured bounty hunter in typical Western fashion. But in this movie they also give him the superpower of being able to bring people back from the dead while he is touching them in order to get information out of them. There’s also some convoluted rules alongside that concept like they start burning if they’re kept “alive” for too long, unless they have dirt on them – because the dead like dirt and dirt likes the dead. Not only that, but the dead are able to see anyone they have come in contact with during their life, which ends up being an easy way to give Jonah Hex some information. I didn’t like this concept at all, I don’t mind some mysticism in a western theme, but this felt way to convoluted and just an easy way to further the plot while giving Jonah Hex a superpower he didn’t really need. On top of that, there was a lot of stilted lines of exposition dialog in order to bring all that information across during the movie.
As far as the character himself, I thought Jonah Hex was rather dull. He has a scarred face which gives him an interesting look, he has the whole “talking to the dead” thing, he can also talk to animals which is something that’s never really explained or makes much sense in the movie. His horse and a random dog he rescues seem to have a connection with him. He talks to them and they seem to understand, and yet his horse is just named “horse”, and the dog doesn’t seem to have any impact in the story whatsoever aside from being around and bringing the Crow Tribal Shamans to Hex when he gets fatally wounded in order to save him once again. He also has a variety of over-technological weapons, like his horse-mounted gatling guns, and a pair of repeating dynamite crossbows that he empties then just throws away. I never understand why many modern action movies set in the past have to have an excuse for rapid-fire weapons and explosions, it does not make for better movies.
The other characters felt similarly uninteresting, Megan Fox plays the hooker with a heart of gold and a pistol in her corset. She loves Jonah and wants to run away with him, but something something something that’s not really spelled out in the movie. I felt like she could have been cut out of the movie completely and it would have been better for it. John Malkovich as Quentin Turnbull, the villain of the piece was too much of a motivation-less villain. His goal was to destroy the entire country because… the South lost? He’s also using this technological marvel “nation killer” which is basically a two stage explosive device powered by dragon-ball looking orange orbs. It basically shoots a bunch of canonballs at a small town and the dragon-ball makes them all explode. I know the country’s still young, but I don’t see how two dozen or so of these dragon-balls is enough to destroy the entire nation. Another thing that bugged me a little was the casting of Will Arnett as an egotistical army officer who doesn’t like Jonah Hex but plays the whole thing completely straight.
The movie did have a few things going for it that I did enjoy. There were a handful of nice gunfight scenes showing that Jonah could actually be a badass when he wanted to. I also liked his general sense of humor. As much as I didn’t like the entire concept of his talking to the dead ability, I did enjoy the scene where he talks with his long-dead best friend and son of Quentin Turnbull. The biggest problem with the movie was that there just wasn’t enough interesting stuff happening between all the exposition, there’s just so much explaining that has to be done, and none of it is interesting, like the nation-killer, most of Hex’s backstory, his powers, his connection with the Crows. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it sure wasn’t very interesting. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.