Friday, March 22, 2013

Jonah Hex (2010) Review:

Along with several other anti-heroes like Marvel's The Punisher, Daredevil and Ghost Rider, not much is really said about the characters from DC Comics universe. That is except for the western outlaw, Jonah Hex. And out of all the DC Comic film adaptations that have hit the screen, Jonah Hex is really the only character who does not possess superhuman abilities (from the comics at least). In this movie, things have changed (which isn't a surprise) and it's actually not that bad of a movie. It has a lot of good parts but the problem was with how it was brought to fruition.

Brolin as the scarred western outlaw
I will go over what I had problems with first. My only quarrel with the whole project is that for all that it promised, there really wasn't a lot of action. And if there was, it was sporadic and only last for a few minutes. I was hoping to see some real gunfights since it was a western. It's not to say that the action was bad. It was excellent but because it didn't last too long, I was left disappointed because I was hoping to see more. Back to what I found good. On more of a parallel, Jonah Hex is the 19th century Frank Castle. He loses everything to one man and is from then on, destined to kill any man he feels deemed to die. It's very cool because how many slick characters do you see, hear or read about from the 1800s? Probably very very few.

Playing the main lead as Jonah Hex is Josh Brolin. Brolin is able to pull off the tough guy look very well, especially with the scar. His voice is low enough and his mannerisms are dry enough to make it sound like he doesn't give. Oddly enough, I do not know why Thomas Jane wasn't hired first. Jane went out of his way to show his enthusiasm for the character and he still didn't get the part. Strange. I'm actually curious now to how much better Jonah Hex would have been if Jane was the lead. Funny as it is, Jane would play Hex that same year in a DC Showcase animated short.

The villain who made Jonah Hex who he was is Quentin Turnbull played by John Malkovich. This isn't Malkovich's first time playing a psychopath but it seemed like he couldn't give his character enough energy to make him seem truly hell-bent on destroying the Union. Turnbull's right hand man is Burke, a psychotic Irishman acted by Michael Fassbender. Fassbender actually seems like he had fun with his role. However, I'd like to know why he put on such weird looking tribal ink on his face. It reminded me of the character Hiko (Cliff Curtis) from John Bruno's Virus (1999). Lastly, hate her or love her, Megan Fox plays the lover of Hex. Surprisingly, she's not on the screen as often as one would think. Either way, she wasn't bad at her character either, especially when she actually fought.

The one thing fans were not happy with was that Hex had super powers. The ability was the power to talk to the dead. Actually, I thought it was neat trait. I'm not fond of changes to original ideas but this didn't seem like such a big deal to fret over. Also, many people thought the dialog was bad. The screenwriters, the Taylor and Neveldine duo didn't do that bad of a job either. I didn't feel any dumber when I heard the characters talking. Brolin had a lot of good lines.

Fassbender as his crazed character Burke
Finally, the introduction with the whole animated bit was rather unique too. It's interesting because Taylor and Neveldine would later direct Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) which would also feature animated segments. It doesn't excel the picture above and beyond but it does give the audience something new to look at. Even for heavy rock band Mastodon's first theatrical film score, I was fairly impressed with. I wasn't sure what to expect originally because the question was, how could they pull that off without an orchestra? But they did and although it didn't contain any soft parts, the guitars blazing in the background were able to portray the anger Hex had very accurately. Too bad, Mastodon could not release the full score. Their EP album is fun but it's not the traditional film score.

There's a lot of good stuff going on in Jonah Hex. The characters are well casted and Mastodon's score is well played for the tone of the film. Too bad the action wasn't as frequent as everything else.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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