Jonah Hex

Look at all that action stuff.
"Revenge gets ugly."

If this movie's protagonist is any indicator then that is definitely true, it doesn't get much uglier than this. Hello all, welcome back to The Tagline! Today I'm reaching back into the deep dark bag of unlikely comic book adaptations, and fetching out one of the stranger ones: Jonah Hex. Even at a conceptual stage, the existence of this film is sort of surprising, given that Jonah Hex is more or less an unrepentant killer driven by blood lusty vengeance. Then again, I suppose the same could be said of the Punisher, and they made TWO movies about him. Jonah Hex is himself a character from DC Comics, originating in the 70s as a Western-style anti-hero, who despite being really ugly and a complete asshole, has a somewhat strict idea about who deserves and receives his gun violence. So despite his shitty reputation, in the comics Hex is a somewhat okay guy with questionable methods. The film adaptation makes this even more questionable, as he seems almost incapable of entering a building in the movie without blowing it up upon his exit. Granted most of the time when he enters a building, people are trying to kill him, but given his behavior and reputation sometimes it's hard to blame them. The movie also decided for some reason that there had to be freaky supernatural elements to the movie, because just being about former confederate soldiers killing each other is too pedestrian or something. To this end, unlike any other appearance of the character ever in like 40 years of publication history, in the film adaptation Jonah Hex has the ability to momentarily raise the dead and force them into speaking truly, and he uses this ability to aid him as he tracks his targets. While totally unnecessary and also completely made up for the movie, I'll grant it's kind of neat, so I guess I'll let you off this time movie.

Why not a flamethrower?
The film follows Hex (played by Josh Brolin, appearing imminently as some cut of killer again in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, maybe the most unlikely sequel of the year) as he is recruited at gunpoint by the US government to stop a lunatic former confederate general from using an engineered super weapon to destroy the United States. Now if this sounds more or less exactly like the plot of Wild Wild West to you well...yeah it's kind of similar I guess, only everyone is grimier. Instead of Will Smith we have the world's ugliest man, and instead of Salma Hayek pretending to be a whore we have Megan Fox portraying an actual whore. I don't mean that in some pejorative sense, her character is literally a prostitute. ANYWAY Hex has another good motivation for going along with the Army's request that he stop this madman and his steam powered death cannon that shoots Dragonballs or something. This crazy bastard is responsible for the death of Hex's family you see, and also for branding him with a hot iron and leaving him hanging from a cross to die, after making him watch his family burn to death in their home. Generally he's a real asshole is what I mean to say. This villain is Dr. Arliss Loveless  Quentin Turnbull, and he is brought to life on the big screen by one of the world's greatest gifts, that very real talent known only as... JOHN "GALBATORIX" MALKOVICH. As always, Mr. Malkovich brings a sense of restraint and dignity to the movie, by being a hammy spaz and shouting crazy stuff, while committing atrocities and generally acting like a lunatic. Motivated by the fact that Hex killed his son (who was also Hex's friend and he only did it because Turnbull had ordered them to like blow up an orphanage or some shit) Turnbull is determined to fuck with everything and everyone because he just plain hates America. In case you didn't know, this was the motivation of all Confederate soldiers, they hated FREEDOM AND AMERICA. No but seriously I think we can officially forgive those who participated in the civil war on the side of the Confederacy, it's been long enough.

You know he's crazy, look at that derby.
So like any good murderer in a kind of campy western involving a giant steam powered death machine (in this case a explosion spewing boat mounted cannon) Jonah Hex has a variety of unlikely weapons in addition to his six shooter, including two horse mounted gatling guns and a pair of crossbows that shoot exploding bolts. Also he has the ability to really gross me the hell out, seriously that face is ROUGH. In addition to Turnbull, Hex must also contend with his psychotic, derby wearing Irish henchman Burke (played by Michael Fassbender, who always turns up in the damnedest places it seems like) and also a bunch of other assholes but really mostly Burke. This movie was unbelievably short, clocking in at around 80 minutes INCLUDING the credits, so as you might expect... there were some problems with it. For starters the plot is kind of all over the place. Is this a story about vengeance, is it Wild Wild West 2: Wild Wester, Why is Megan Fox a prostitute, there are a lots of questions I had, and the movie just sort of rambles along without any real purpose. Jonah Hex seems to know exactly where he's going, but the movie doesn't really let you in on the secret. I think that it would be difficult for a GOOD movie to succeed with less than an hour and a half worth of run time, so I can't really fault Jonah Hex for being an all over the place mess.

I guess this is a reason to watch?
That said, even as a cinematic disaster I still found this movie entertaining. If nothing else I always like to watch John Malkovich act like the campy villain he probably really is inside, and if you are a 14 year old boy I imagine you'll get a real kick out of Megan Fox half-naked shooting dudes with two six shooters, so I guess that's cool. If you're a 14 year old boy and you are reading my blog, that's weird, go play Call of Duty or something, this isn't for you. I think you can watch Jonah Hex and enjoy how just generally not good it is, and at the worst it's only a little over an hour long, so it isn't like you're signing up for three hours of cinematic punishment. Just watch things blow up, put on the Wild Wild West song, and just go with the flow. Also if a guy brands your face with a hot iron, it will not improve things if you cut half your face off with a heated hatchet. It will not improve things at all.

That's it for today folks! Join me next week when I talk about Red Dragon. Twice.

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