I have to admit that I had not read the Jonah Hex books and that I was more familiar with the character from the talk of like-minded fan-boys than from the source material, but the idea of Jonah Hex was something that interested me. I went to the 12:01 show on Friday morning. Unfortunately, I sat next to the people who don’t like anything and love to mention their twenty reasons why, but that’s another article.
Jonah Hex doesn’t offer anything new for the fan of comic adapted films. It pays homage to the medium; many of the shots appearing to mirror the panels directly (see Sin City). What Jonah Hex does offer is a comic adapted book with an old-west setting. Directed by Jimmy Hayward, director of 2008’s “Horton Hears a Who” and long time animator with Pixar. Hayward uses the eye catching color contrasts of an animated film to direct your eyes and he uses them well.
Hex, played by Josh Brolin, is a bounty hunter with a unique set of skills. First, he is difficult to kill, which would be a boon for any bounty hunter. (I’m sure we all would have enjoyed life a little more had either of the Fetts been difficult to kill.) Hex’s other gift is the ability to “reanimate” the dead with his touch, for as long as he remains in contact with them. The dead return as if they were alive, but with knowledge of those, whose paths they crossed while alive. A convenient plot device for what turns out to be a revenge film.
Through flashbacks that seem a bit lazy, we find out that Hex disobeyed a direct order by his commanding officer, Quentin Turnbull, played by John Malkovich, and eventually killed Hex’s best friend and son of the commanding officer (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, all too briefly). Turnbull sets himself on revenge against Hex for the murder of his son. Turnbull kills Hex’s family and brands him so that he will have to live with the constant reminder of the man who killed his family. Hex, of course, sets out for revenge against Turnbull.
Along for the ride is Megan Fox in her least annoying role to date, Lilah, the prostitute with a soft spot for the disfigured Hex.
If you need your movies to have a clear message or if you need characters to have any semblance of moral consistency, skip this one. If you like the visual style of comic adapted films, if you like quasi-westerns, if you are a Malkovich completest or if you like Josh Brolin, check this one out. Hex teaches us that two wrongs do not make a right, but they can make an entertaining film.
How much would I pay to see this one again? Out of $10, I would pay $6.50.
Images: DC Comics/WB