Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: An uncatchable terrorist’s plot is uncovered forcing a dumb, useless government to hire a rebel to save day. That’s the entire plot of Warner Bros.’ live-action adaptation of DC Comics’ JONAH HEX, which puts Josh Brolin the title role of the disfigured “anti-hero”.
With a riddling 83-minute runtime, by the end credits it becomes pretty obvious that this summer movie was trimmed down to be a fast-paced, mind-numbing action flick.
The aforementioned edit is realized within the opening moments when the audience is rushed through Jonah Hex’s history with an obnoxious voiceover, and quick flashing comic book clips. I don’t know about you, but I love the first BATMAN and SPIDER-MAN movies because they’re rich in character development and share with us the origins of these beloved icons. JONAH HEX literally butchers the history of Hex by dumping the “reason for revenge” off like it’s completely inconsequential. Hex is tied up, Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich) is angry, grrrrr, and thus orders the death of Hex’s family – right in front of him. Then the voiceover tells us the big twist: Hex can talk to dead people! How did he gain this magical gift? Oh, he nearly died and came back with these powers. There you have it, Hex’s entire origin story dumped on your porch step and lit on fire. Stomp on it a bit and you’ll find a steaming turd inside.
The odd lack of character development wasn’t the only issue as problems ranged from poor set design to disastrous CGI. Roles appear and vanish (I’m pretty sure I only saw the incredible Michael Shannon for seconds; more proof of a botched edit). Even the score by heavy metal band Mastodon set me off as it just blared nonsensical sounds in my brain (just wait until the train nearly runs you over and blows out your eardrums).
There’s just nothing there; JONAH HEX is soulless. At best it’s like a fill-in mission on the video game “Red Dead Redemption.” In the end there are only two reasons to see HEX. The first is to beat the summer heat and kill an hour and half before your parents pick you up from the mall/theater. The other is to officially say goodbye to these puppies…