Jonah Hex

Mish Mash


18 June 2010| No Comments on Jonah Hex     by Sean Chavel


Idiotic and nearly impossible to follow. But minutes before Jonah Hex began the publicist announced that the film was only 83 minutes in running time, and right then, it curried favor from me – for a moment. By the time the opening scenes were over it becomes certain that it would have been better if the filmmakers put another five minutes back in, to rectify the exposition tripping over itself through those jarring smash cuts. Are filmmakers afraid audiences are going to be demanding refunds within the first five minutes if there’s not enough bam! pow! zonk! thrown in to hammer you over the head?

With the title role of Hex, this is Josh Brolin’s attempt to go mainstream with this DC Comics-fueled western, and for the first time, he looks uncomfortable. For those unaccustomed, Brolin has starred in “No Country for Old Men” and “Milk.” Hex has a scarred face, with latex tissue stretching over the cheekbone over the mouth – the tissue looks like an elastic band. Brolin is designated to speaking in a low croaky groan the entire movie.

Hex is commissioned by the government to hunt down Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich, “Burn After Reading”), but it is likely Hex would hunt down Turnbull even if he wasn’t commissioned – it was Turnbull as a matter of fact who scarred Hex’s face and killed his family in front of his eyes. Malkovich delivers what is perhaps the least interesting performance of his career. Although with his long-flowing greasy hair that hangs over his menacing scowl of a face, he seems like a candidate to play Judge Holden if Hollywood ever makes a movie out of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” Despite the makeup and hair job, Malkovich never appears dedicated to this part.

I wasn’t a fan of “Transformers,” but I am a male, and I was gaga over seeing Megan Fox for the first time in a corset. She plays Lilah, the prostitute. She gets offers to leave the sordid lifestyle all the time but turns them down. “I don’t play house,” Lilah explains. Hex is her favorite customer, and she foresees a future with him. Keep in mind, Fox doesn’t have many scenes in the movie, so if you too are male that might disappoint you. She is a supporting character, not a lead. There is a moment where she looks better than she has ever looked in the movie, but director (hack) Jimmy Hayward holds the shot for about 1.5 seconds.

In my notes, I wrote down that there is no subtle scene to explain Malkovich’s motivation. But I realized that there is little motivation beyond the surface motivation. There is also a dream flashback inserted into the movie twice, as if you would forget. Maybe the original comic book explained more and provided depth to the backstory.

“Jonah Hex” all lies in the collapse of its director who didn’t have a clear cut vision and so decided to mimic the crappy queasy cam and smash cut aesthetics of other current trash filmmakers. This is a self-conscious effort made to heap in on the bandwagon success of others. Hayward should go back to animation where his career started. Your movie sucks, Hayward, and sucks all the more because you didn’t try to at least imitate a paramount like Quentin Tarantino or Sergio Leone, you tried to imitate an amalgamation of every creative sell-out in Hollywood.

81 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “Street Fighter” (1994); “Daredevil” (2003); “The Punisher” (2004);  “The Good, the Bad, The Weird” (2008, South Korea).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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