Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content, 80 minutes
Unfocused, messy "Jonah Hex" doesn't deliver
Take a decent DC Comics character, scramble it with a couple of solid character actors, a pretty movie star and some big explosions and you come up with the murky, jumpy "Jonah Hex," a disappointing adaptation of the graphic novel character. Sure, it's moderately entertaining with a handful of energetic action set pieces, but in the end it's a rather pointless affair.
Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is a scarred bounty hunter and ex-Confederate military in the post-Civil War who nearly died at the hands of an evil criminal named Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), who scarred Hex's face in a grotesque way. Turnbull supposedly died before Hex could enact his revenge, but he is back again, wreaking havoc and building a dasterdly weapon and an army that could destroy thousands. The U.S. military under President Grant's (Aidan Quinn) is devising its own way to stop Turnbull: by using Hex to stop him. Hex, who also has special powers to speak to the dead, is on a very personal mission of redemption, love with a beautiful woman named Talulah (Megan Fox) and exacting violent revenge on the man who physically and mentally scarred him for life.
Jonah Hex is a shoddy, mildly enjoyable misfire that has gone wrong in the hands of the wrong director. Brolin, under heavy makeup, tries his hardest for a believable performance and he would succeed had the unfocused script not gone in so many directions. Jimmy Hayward, director of "Horton Hears a Who" and an animator who ironically worked on the first two "Toy Story" films, is the wrong choice for the material, falters in navigating the material. The uneven plot, filled with lots of explosions and gun shooting, simply doesn't give a chance to fully develop the Hex character.
Malkovich chews up the screen and it's always nice seeing Michael Shannon, who's wasted in a brief supporting part as a circus ringleader. The beautiful Fox has little to do as Hex's love interest, and she's the weakest link in a movie full of them. The first big action set piece, in which Hex fires upon a group of criminals, is tremendously pointless, and goes down hill from there. The predictable showdown between Hex and Turnbull pulls absolutely no surprises, either, only setting up more films if this is a hit.
"Jonah Hex" could've been great. It has all the right elements, but fell apart under a forgettable, uneven story and misdirection. Comic book enthusiasts will likely be very disappointed, to say the least. Not worth your time unless you really enjoy this type of thing.