Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jonah Hex - *1/2

Anyone looking forward to Jonah Hex had to have known that something was wrong when there were no trailers or promotional material released until about three weeks before its release date. To be fair, it's really not quite as bad as I anticipated, but it's still not much to get excited about. Who is Jonah Hex? He's a guy whose face got burned while he watched his family die in a fire and now he can somehow talk to dead people to help the U.S. Army solve problems during the Civil War. I'm sure there's more to the character in another medium, but that's pretty much all the film offers. He's sort of like a superhero, or a guy with magical powers, powers that he uses maybe twice in the entire film.

Jonah Hex has some interesting shots, some bad special effects, some witty dialogue, and a handful of mediocre action sequences, which amount to an overall product that is completely watchable, but far from essential. The script comes from the absurd writing team, Neveldine/Taylor, which sounded exciting, but it ends up not making any sense, which is sort of their forte when they're directing, but with someone else in charge it all falls apart. It's narratively incoherent, lacking build-up of any kind and, at 88 minutes, the climax feels like a second-act set piece, but there's no third act to follow it. I'm not sure how much of this is anybody's fault; it feels like the studio saw a failure coming and tried to edit down a two-hour movie to 88 minutes, scrapping all of the relevant connecting scenes, and leaving in only the scenes with guns, shouting, or Megan Fox's cleavage.

I guess you could say that Josh Brolin does a decent job in the lead role, but he has almost nothing to do, and no real support. John Malkovich wanders aimlessly through his scenes, spitting out his bad dialogue as if he were doing an impression of John Malkovich mocking a villain in a B-movie, which kind of works somehow, and Megan Fox is as worthless as ever. In actuality it may be one of the most important films of the year... the film that makes people realize that Megan Fox has absolutely nothing to contribute. Bravo Jonah Hex.

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