Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Jonah Hex (2010)

Director: Jimmy Hayward
Starring: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich

"Christ, woman, how many men you seeing today?"
-Jonah Hex talking about Megan Fox

You know what we don’t have enough of yet? Comic book movies. Yeah, ain’t tired of those yet, are you America?


Well, then, here’s an 80 minute cash in on an underground comic book series that most people don’t know about. 80 whole minutes! These guys are really pushing the limits with this one! Yeah. This is Jonah Hex. It sucks, and you’ll probably want your money back…even if you got it for free. I don’t suppose I need to tell you what happens next.

Our movie starts off with some pretentious narration beginning with a guy saying something along the lines of, he’s cashed his last check. I guess he should have switched to Geico, then. The story here is apparently that a gunslinger named Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) sold out some of his own guys for being corrupt. The leader of these guys, named Turnbull, came and killed Hex’s family, forcing him to watch and then branding his face with a cattle prod. Because I guess tattooing the name across his ass would have taken too much time. By the way, that’s John Malkovich as Turnbull, too. I hope you’re all ready for some more big white teeth action!

No? Well, how about some more mind-fucking, reality-bending existentialism a la Being John Malkovich?

"You'd best not be asking those kinds of questions 'round these parts..."

…we don’t get that either, because I guess John Cusack was off making worse movies. Well, fuck, count me as disappointed, then. Half the time in this film, you can barely even tell it’s Malkovich, the performance is so generic and uninspired.

And then we go through a long, long sequence of animated, pastel-colored images that the filmmakers couldn’t afford to shoot with real actors in this movie’s 80 minute runtime. Because that makes sense. Your movie is already shorter than most made-for-TV movies and it’s padded with cartoon images that move like cheap animatronics. Isn’t that just magical?

Then we see him carrying a bunch of dead bodies on the back of his horse through the desert. All I can wonder is how those actors felt when they had to do this scene over and over again while Josh Brolin scratched his makeup. Seriously, he looks like a horse ate his face, shat it out, ate it again and then spit it all over the camera. When a fat little man with a big, curly mustache straight out of archaic stereotypes refuses to pay Hex for his bounty, Hex shoots them all and then blows up the entire building they’re in. Because that’s just so badass it’s unbelievable!

Because when you can't go for compelling, interesting character development, at least a guy who looks like Two Face can blow shit up!

After that, he goes to visit a hooker played by perhaps the most apt casting choice in this film, Megan Fox. Yes, after all these years she’s finally been given the role she was born for. Isn’t that just wonderful? An actress finally found her way. It’s a story that has been featured in many inspirational magazines in the past. I’m glad she’s finally been put to good use as an actress! Anyway, she and Hex exchange soulless pleasantries and don’t really establish much other than that Fox is a stereotypically sultry seductress without much else to distinguish her as a character. Boring. Oh, but she does dig Hex’s scars! Hah. Don’t make me laugh, movie.

The only reason anyone actually went to see this movie.
This really isn't the time for bondage games, you guys.

So after Malkovich hijacks a train and steals some apparently important stuff, he blows that up too, because it’s an action movie, and it has to have explosions. There isn’t really any other reason for them to be here. One of Malkovich’s guys gets captured by the military and put in a cage for some reason? I don’t know. But he is dead. They call Hex because he was wronged by Malkovich in the past, but luckily due to plot convenience, he can also communicate with the dead. That’s right. Instead of actually having him do work and hunt down the bad guys, or anything else actually EXCITING, they just throw in this half assed cop out. Oh, so he can talk to the dead and threaten them with incredible pain if they don’t cooperate (some kind of weird thing where they burn up if they’re kept ‘alive’ too long)? HOW CONVENIENT!

On top of that, this scene is just horrible, too. Hex starts off by saying what I just told you; that he can raise the dead by touching them, but if they spend too long like that, they start to burn up. But then he keeps talking for so long that it’s like he didn’t even know what he was just saying, and the guy keeps smoldering like a fresh cigarette butt. Come on, man, put the poor sap out of his misery! It’s not so much cruelty and intimidation as it is just plain old retarded, like he wasn’t paying attention.

So then we’re treated to more meaningful cinema, like a guy fighting a weird mutant snake-man hybrid in a primitive cage fight where onlookers bet money on who will win. That’s got a big reason to be in the film! It’s like…uh…wait, I guess I was wrong. It’s completely pointless and only serves to confuse us more as to how this fantasized version of the Wild West works. God, they have this whole new world to show us, but are instead just focusing on trivial, menial things with no real relevance to anything else. Fuck that.

After that scene, we’re given some exposition from Malkovich about the machine they’re building as he talks to his weird tattooed Irish henchman about the superpowered weapons he has, which look like the Dragonballs. This is such an original picture! Apparently these are some sort of weird, primitive nuclear weapons developed strangely in this world by Eli Whitney. Huh? Why Eli Whitney? Did you pull the name out of a hat or something? You could have just as easily gone the extra mile and claimed that Robert E. Lee was secretly a member of a cult of insane fanatics worshiping the Energizer Bunny, who gave them all these glowing ball-sacks to use to destroy the world. I mean, come on. Don’t hold back on us now, movie!

So Hex gets wounded in a fight in town and collapses in the middle of the woods somewhere. While unconscious and being healed by his Indian friends – yes, he has Indian friends now – he experiences a series of psychotic seizures (well, that’s what I’m calling them, anyway) in which he is fighting Malkovich and losing. There’s one part where he gets buried and rises up from the ground covered in dirt…a lot of weird dreamlike camera angles and colors…and I’m just so immensely confused. Was the director just doing a lot of acid? I seriously think this warrants some investigation. He might be in deep shit.

Okay, so Hex is healed, and gets summoned to fight Turnbull at Independence Harbor. Even though he could probably have a whole army with him, as this is now a threat to the entire nation (Malkovich just flat out says that he wants to destroy America…HAHAHA), he goes alone. Because he’s edgy and cool and a loner. This whole thing could be solved in like a second if he just took a bunch of trained soldiers with him and had them all attack. What are you guys, morons? It’s SO EASY to solve this and here you are letting just one battered rebel do it for you? What a bunch of lazy asses. Maybe Malkovich should just go ahead and destroy you all anyway. Hex fights Malkovich, which is interspersed for some reason with scenes from the hallucination he had earlier, in which he…also fought Malkovich. So you get to see two fights between the same characters, at the same time. How worthless are you, movie?!

But oh no! Megan Fox has been kidnapped! Instead of just letting her rot like any sensible person would do, Hex’s brain is apparently still fried from hours out in the sun while he was unconscious, and so he dives selflessly in to save her. Or rather, not selflessly, but for the love of his own penis, which will be quite lonely if he doesn’t save her. So, let’s take a vote: Do you think Hex will save Megan Fox? Write your answers on the papers on your desks and I’ll give you a minute or two to think about it.

Of course he saves her, and of course Malkovich is killed, the nuclear weapons turn into pretty 4th of July fireworks (because it has to be the 4th of July when these events take place) and Hex is offered a position as – get this – SHERIFF OF AMERICA.

I don’t even have words for this. Oh wait, yes I do: Jonah Hex, everybody! Or as I like to call it, Half-Assed, Bottom of the Barrel Dog Shit, the movie! I mean, this is just shit, man; fresh, unfertilized shit straight from the ass of corporate America. The acting is phoned in and lazy, the story is full of holes and wasted potential and there’s just nothing enjoyable about it. I guess some of the action scenes are OK, but are you really going to sift through the rest of this manure for that? No. And you damn well shouldn’t.

All images Copyright (c) of their original owners. None of them are mine.