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Saturday
Jun192010

JONAH HEX lacks the cool space guns and rocking music of a Muse video (review)

Rating:  (Embarrassing)

Jonah Hex is an 80 minute (less if you don't watch the credits) eruption of Hollywood explosions, dumb dialogue, Megan Fox closeups, and hero-meets-villain confrontations. It's Hollywood's closest attempt at mimicking the Knights of Cydonia Muse video, but lacks the cool space guns and rocking music. 

If you don't believe me, see it. There are a few remarkable similarities. The villain (John Malkovich) kidnaps the hero's girlfriend and shoots him. The hero dies out in the woods, but is somehow brought back to life so he can gallop back to save his girlfriend to the beat of heavy rock music and stop John Malkovich from destroying the Fourth of July. If Hex were a feature length Muse video, I'd love it. Sadly, it isn't

Prostitutes, Confederates, and vigilante justice

Megan Fox is Lilah, a prostitute who enjoys her life one minute and longingly looks into a mirror the next. She thinks she can fend for herself and carries a one-shot pistol. Instead of investing in guns, she should learn how to lock a door. On three separate occasions men sneak into her room and she's always surprised. If you're going to sell your body darlin', use the cash to buy a Masterlock. Also, Megan Fox should learn how to act if she ever wants to play a non-whore in a movie. 

Josh Brolin is Jonah Hex, a man who kills bad guys for fun and has lots of high tech machine guns. He used to be a regular joe, but his family was killed by Turnbull, thus turning him into a renegade hunting for vigilante justice. (Give up the grudge, Hex. The Punisher already has this gig.) I've never understood how losing your family would make you want to destroy the families of others in the name of good, but it's routine in comic books. Hex kills people without remorse or really knowing if they're guilty, including his best friend. He's not my kind of hero. 

Hex does have superhero powers, but they're limited and lame. He can bring the dead to life when he touches them. I think that's it. He also has a great sense of direction--does that count? Without any research or Google maps, he finds Turnbull's secret hideouts almost instantly. If he can't find them, he asks some dead guy.

John Malkovich is Quentin Turnbull, a former Confederate general who blames Jonah Hex for the death of his family. After killing Jonah's family and scarring his face, Turnbull fakes his own death and started plotting the end of the world. Pretty standard stuff. I mean, why kill Hex if you can leave him alive to one-day wreak vengeance upon you? It's more fun to let him go. Like a good bad guy, Turnbull loves to leave loose ends in the name of villainy. 

Anyway, Turnbull found the plans to create a top-secret super weapon, invented by Eli Whitney. It turns out that after inventing the cotton gin, Whitney was recruited by the military and invented a ton of weapons for them, revolutionizing warfare as he did farming. I'm not so sure about his secret weapon though. It's basically a giant Gatling gun. Instead of bullets, it shoots canon balls. Here's the trick: the canon balls are really bombs, and after shooting all six, the thing shoots a computer generated dragon ball, which explodes and ignites them all in a hellish blast of CGI. 

Hellish blasts

Speaking of hellish blasts, there are a lot of them in Jonah Hex. Nearly every place Hex visits turns to Hollywood dust within a couple minutes. A town blows up, a train blows up, another town blows up, a submarine blows up, a ship blows up. Lotso things be detonatin' in this here picture. Ya kids like explosions, don'tcha?

If you like the repetitive discharges, you'll love the hero-meets-villain scenes. Jonah Hex and his nemesis Turnbull confront each other no less than four times in 80 minutes, and that's if you don't count Hex's hallucinations, where he is also fighting Quentin Turnbull. Every time Hex is about to kick the General's ass, the Confederate weasel sneaks out! The best part is at the end, where Jonah is fighting Turnbull in real life and his dreams at the same time. Double the Turnbull, double the kick-ass.

Do It Again, Do It Again

Jonah Hex might as well be four episodes of a lame Saturday morning kids show. I've seen worse films, but few that repeat themselves so often. It's a Steely Dan wet dream, without the fantastic guitar and keyboards or awesome beard. Hex forgets characters, ignores logic, and mimics better movies. If it did this in the name of fun, I'd be more forgiving, but the only tongue-in-cheek humor here is the kind the studio's marketing department is dishing out. Still, coming from the writers of Gamer, a horrible movie starring Gerard Butler, this is a definitive step forward. 

I wonder how good actors continually let themselves get stuck in such bad films. Do they realize midway through production that they're making a mockery of themselves? Do they put on a pretty face anyway? John Malkovich, Josh Brolin, and Michael Fassbender are good at what they do. They should fire their managers. I can't imagine going from starring in No Country for Old Men, W., and Milk to Jonah Hex. Good move, Brolin.

 

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