Jonah Hex (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/09/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 81 mins

Jonah Hex starts promisingly, has a couple of nice ideas and a superb performance from Josh Brolin but the film has obviously been hacked to pieces and is hampered by lazy supporting performances, several utterly pointless scenes and the fact that all the violence happens offscreen.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jimmy Hayward and written by the guys behind Crank (Neveldine & Taylor), Jonah Hex is based on the DC comic and stars Josh Brolin as a Civil War veteran whose family is murdered in a vicious revenge attack by the evil Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). Turnbull also brands Hex with a hideous facial scar, which Hex then makes worse by slicing it off, so his teeth are visible through his cheek.

Having been so close to death, Hex can now talk to the dead, which comes in handy in his chosen profession as a bounty hunter, complete with hooker girlfriend (Megan Fox), faithful stray dog and a Gatling-gun-equipped horse. When he hears that Turnbull has faked his death and is planning an attack on the 1876 centennial celebrations, Hex vows to take his revenge.

The Good
Brolin is excellent as Hex, despite the fact that he's forced to deliver all his lines through gritted teeth; his scene with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as his dead best friend) is even rather moving. There's also strong support from Michael Fassbender (as Turnbull's vicious henchman) but Malkovich chooses the worst possible film to forego his usual scenery-chewing and delivers a lazy performance (and a bad accent), while Fox barely bothers to deliver her lines and the film completely wastes talented supporting players like Will Arnett and Michael Shannon.

The film does have a couple of nice ideas, most notably the Gatling-gun horse and a pair of dynamite crossbows, but they're both given a scene each and then forgotten about.

The Bad
The biggest problem is that the film has been hacked right down to 82 minutes and it really shows. However, there are still plenty of pointless scenes, such as a gladiator style pit-fight with what looks like a demon (that Hex doesn't even fight) and a symbolic psychic plane battle (or something) between Hex and Turnbull that's intercut with their final fight and doesn't work at all.

Worth seeing?
To be fair, Jonah Hex is never exactly unwatchable, it's just not very good. Still, at least it's not as bad as Wild, Wild West, which it closely resembles at times.

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Content updated: 18/12/2017 01:24

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