JONAH HEX

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So… a western in the proud tradition of The Searchers or Once Upon a Time in The West?

Don’t recall any scenes with The Duke puking up crows or cleansing entire towns of life with horse-mounted cannons, but one could argue. This is not a revisionist western as much as a retarded one produced by Bam Margera that sticks closely to its comic book source material. That should cover what went wrong.

Let’s go through the motions, at least.

Brolin plays Hex like a generic antihero with the Two-Face treatment reflecting his battered soul and dual personality of ruthless avenger/softy for the hoes. Or maybe he is a badly developed character borne of several botched rewrites. He sports the most laughable facial scar since Berenger in Platoon. And he shoots every single person he mumbles a word to with the exception of the President. Since the evil Quentin Turnbull killed his family and branded his face, Jonah is bent on vengeance, except that Turnbull died in the opening credits.† Jonah fills the time hunting down people for cash, but then he figures out Turnbull is alive, and is all about revenge again, and stopping the bad guy’s plot to destroy the nation.

That is some tight storytelling.

The screenplay is narrative Ebola transmitted by anal rape. Hex kills Turnbull’s son and so Turnbull kills his wife and kid (which is understandable), but Jonah is the good guy, so his reasons are okay. He sort of dies, and some Indians do some mystical shit with herbs and spices and bring him back to life, but with the gift of being able to dodge bullets, reanimate the dead, and shoot people in the face. He dies again, and somehow the same tribe of Indians find and resurrect him in a stupid but thankfully brief scene with chanting and medicine and crows. He bellows “Turnbull!” and sprints off, leaving us wondering what the point of this segue was. People go places and do stuff for reasons unexplained, the villain has a plot to bring down America, and peripheral characters are introduced only to be snuffed out shortly afterward. Really, the entire tome boils down to every sad sack of shit being shot.

Memorable deaths by the fuckton, surely?

Hex’s family is burned alive offscreen. That is as good as it gets. Here’s a list of the brilliantly conceived murders herein:

1. A town hires Jonah to kill four outlaws. He shoots them. Drags them to the town. Then shoots several people with Gatling guns mounted on his horse. And then shoots a few more with a standard revolver.

2. A guy insults Jonah in a saloon. He is shot.

3. Jonah encounters Turnbull’s men and shoots many of them.

4. Turnbull bribes a guy to help him. Then shoots him.

5. Hex finds some of Turnbull’s men. Shockingly, they are shot one at a time.

6. Turnbull jacks a train, takes the engine, and disconnects the rest of the train, which coasts to a stop, precisely on top of a mountain of dynamite which is blown up, killing everyone on board. We hardly knew ye.

7. And then more people get shot.

The cast dutifully queues up to be shot by our hero in a way that recalls execution scenes from Holocaust films more than exciting action escapism.

Does Megan Fox provide masturbatory fodder?

Fox utterly commits herself to the craft. Her depiction of an empty-eyed whore is so uncanny that a nautical mile of cock must surely have been chugged so America’s sweetheart could perfect her Method. But really, Megan Fox is an object of obsession only to those lacking an internet connection. Compared to Jenya, Megan is a mannequin, only less animated and would require Betadine for lubricant.

Faggot. So what is the plot for our Bond villain?

Eli Whitney not only invented the cotton gin, but arms manufacturing; and he invented a cannon that could make a city blow the fuck up. Several dark balls are shot into a location, then a glowing yellow ball detonates them. How? Science! Don’t ask! So Turnbull wants to blow up Washington D.C., here just a trailer park with a Capitol building, to inspire the country to riot in anarchy. Step three – profit! The details are murky.

So is Jonah Hex the next big franchise?

The empty theatre I sat in would argue otherwise. There were like three people, two of whom spent time on the cell phone the entire fucking movie. They were paying attention, because they laughed their ass off at the big payoff line. The President hands our hero a big gay star for his lapel. “Jonah… America needs a sheriff.” Oh my piss.

So a mediocre action movie in summer – no big deal, right?

The motto of the entire film was “It seemed like a good idea.” Every word of dialogue is a decaying cliche, from ‘Everyone who gets close to me dies’ to ‘I cut my face shaving’. Everything else sucks. The whore with a heart of gold and a head of helium. The villain is called a terrorist just in case we don’t understand how evil he is. One of the heavies is played by Will Arnett. Jonah can bring corpses to life to get information on where the plot is going – shame he didn’t pick up the script. Fox is attacked by a guy and she stabs him, solely to have a scene where she kills a guy. Shit blows up for no good reason, like when Hex shoots a lantern, causing an entire building to explode. John Malkovich is bored as fuck, as if he is somehow above smeg like this. Hex is resurrected twice, by the same method, so you know the writers didn’t give a shit. Finally, the entire endgame fight on the boat is so sloppy and intercut with flashbacks after flashbacks, that they virtually cut past the part where Turnbull dies – somehow – and the boat explodes in a vast fireball as our witless heroes jump into the Potomac. No idea what just happened, and I don’t care. And the same flashback from the death of Jonah’s family is used about seven times.

You just don’t enjoy action. Go watch a film about French poets.

I love violence. Imaginative bludgeonings and body parts flying hither and yon can become meditative in a way. But lining up a cast of several hundred and mechanically shooting them all in the head to a soundtrack inspired by Imitrex doesn’t fucking cut it. This movie is AIDS. The preceding trailer was for The Expendables, and guess how it looks compared to this. That is correct -† fucking fantastic. No need to weep for the future, just discriminate for the present.

About Alex K.

Alex is an actual medical doctor. Really. At a hospital and everything. We donít know what heís doing here, but he writes good reviews.