Directed by Jimmy Hayward
Bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) learns that the man that murdered his wife and son, Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), is still alive and now tasked by the US government must hunt Turnbull down and stop him from using a super weapon and devastating the United States.
Every time I watch this movie, I watch it with very little knowledge of the comic book version of the character. My only exposure to him were one or two issues of a late 80s/early 90s series (I think) where he was in the far future via time travel and had escaped.
Josh Brolin stars as the supernatural tinged bounty hunter. He’s all slick one liners and smart ass comments. Josh Brolin in general has a look and demeanor that lends itself very well to the western genre. I got hints of the character Hondo Lane in “Hondo” from Josh Brolin’s portrayal here. Hex adheres to a code of strict individualism much like Hondo and the addition of the dog that followed him only helps with that comparison. I am not putting the character or this film in the same tier as “Hondo.” I am just comparing the characters. This is definitely no “Hondo.”
John Malkovich is Quentin Turnbull. How can you go wrong with John Malkovich as a villain? Even when he does lighter stuff, he is still the creepiest guy in the movie.
I enjoy the blurring of genres. Sometimes you get crap and sometimes you get gold. Usually you get potential that is just missed. This is the latter. Hex being in touch with the supernatural is a great gimmick and has some good moments such as when he raises the dead to interrogate them, but it is not to integral to the plot. You could have removed it and had pretty much the same movie withn Hex chasing down the same bad guys to the same conclusion. But a bigger issue is the pacing of the story and maybe that is why the supernatural was not more significant.
The film is barely 82 minutes and that does not allow for much story. It is more one action filled scene after the next than it is a story. The actors have little more than cameos in it. I wish it had been longer. Develop the story more. Flesh out Jonah Hex expand upon his relationship with the prostitute Lilah (Megan Fox). Heck, expand upon the relationship between Hex and his weapons supplier Smith (Lance Reddick). He conveniently has his own version of HQ from James Bond in this movie. No explanation of where that guy came from or what exactly the connection is. It is implied they have known each other for a while but how and why is not touched upon really. It just is.
The biggest drawback is the casting of Megan Fox. She is a pretty face but being pretty does not mean you can act well. Megan Fox is an absolute stunner but that is not a talent. She has less skill than John Wayne but unlike John Wayne she does not have a screen presence that makes up for it. She was not bad, but she was not that good. Lilah is the love interest of Jonah Hex and as evidenced by the ending is the one thing he actually cares about in this world. Her lack of skill produces little chemistry.
The super weapon used in the film is stated as having never been built because it was too terrible to use or something along those lines, yet all the pieces are flopping around and appear to be easy to assemble. Why leave a terrible weapon sitting around in pieces along with easy to follow directions? If you keep the plans that is fine but why keep the whole thing? Why wasn’t it destroyed?
The story is okay but there is not enough of it there which is the problem. This could have been better than it was. I am not saying it is terrible, but it is not as good as it could have been. Watch it if you enjoy westerns. It will rank mostly as a guilty pleasure if it ranks as anything and it is a guilty pleasure for me.