Friday, June 18, 2010
Movie Review: Jonah Hex
Jonah Hex has been getting spectacular reviews.......spectacularly BAD ones. On Rotten Tomatoes, it is currently at a 14% Rotten rating. So I went into this expecting the worst piece of poo of the season, and.....I didn't get it; not exactly. I will say this, I had fun in Jonah Hex, if you check your brain at the door and go in with no expectations, you might actually have fun watching this movie. Is it great? DEFINITELY not, is it good? sorta kinda...is it fun? yes, but like I said, its a big, dumb, fun B picture.
However, it isn't without its problems. The first point of irritation was that this isn't "Jonah Hex" the comic book character, it truly was Wild Wild West in tone. While Jonah is fighting off Turnbull in Virginia and Washington DC, Jim West and Artemus Gordon could have been fighting Arliss Loveless and his 80 foot spider in Utah and blowing up the town of Silverado.
...but something I wasn't prepared for is how grim the film was...Most of the clips Id seen (and the trailer) seem to have a rather comedic edge to them, Jonah was portrayed as a lovable curmudgeon who is always getting one upped by Megan Fox, that wasn't the film at all. While being VERY "comic booky" and "action movie" it was still fairly grim and serious in its style and tone, with only a few moments of humor spread throughout. Also, there was a lot about the trailer I didn't like, certain line readings seemed forced like the "I cut myself shaving what happened to yours?" line that Josh Brolin says in the trailer - Too loud, too fast...In the film all that stuff was fixed.
Story-wise the film was a bit muddled, but there was never a point (that I noticed) where I was lost, or didn't' know what was going on, the story is pretty simple and they stick too it (Turnbull Bad - Jonah Good, Jonah stop Turnbull)...which makes it a short film. Jeopardy is never really perilous, Jonah and Lilah get captured and then get free, Jonah gets shot and is close to death, but you know he isn't going to die....its more of a question of how he's going to survive.
The actors were good. Brolin is great, if they ever reboot this franchise I hope they keep him, Megan Fox was good too...I like her as a gun totting gunslinger girl, too bad there isnt much of that here. John Malkovich is was the weak link....not because he did a bad job but because he seemed too not know what the character was all about and just decided to do bored psychopath instead of intriguing villain.
As for the Weird Westness of this, They firmly planted it into the genre. The filmmakers didn't stop with Jonah talking to the dead or the glowy bomb balls, they even have a scene in a fight tent with a snake monster man who can extend his jaw and spouts sizzling venom. This film won't convince anyone that the Weird West is a viable interesting genre worth exploring (We'll have to wait for Cowboys and Aliens for that) but it isn't a hack job either....but then neither was Wild Wild West so take that as you will.
What irks me most about this film is it could have been great, instead of making it mediocre and then creating a stellar marketing campaign, the film itself should have been the draw, but instead they made a film that has nothing to do Jonah, really, they just slapped his name on it and will blame the films failure on the character not being very well known. This is a fun film, take Hex out of the equation and its a fun supernatural Western, but it isn't Jonah Hex like I said before and the failure this film is sure to be what will convince the studio heads that Jonah doesn't have the fan base for another try. If they could have gotten Lansdale in to do an adaptation of Two Gun Mojo (just to keep the tone of the first film intact - Sequel-wise) it could have been a hit. But I doubt we will see much more from Hex on the big screen for a long, long time.
I give it 3 out of 5 Bloody Spurs