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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Shannon, Will Arnett
DIRECTED BY
Jimmy Hayward
SCREENPLAY
Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
MPAA RATING
Rated R
RUNNING TIME
84 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Warner Brothers
DVD EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes (They didn't delete enough).
 "Jonah Hex" Review 
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A film that was on the "highly anticipated" list for multiple film critics, Jonah Hex may very well end up being one of 2010's biggest disappointments and, perhaps more notably, one of the year's most outrageous wastes of a truly talented cast.

While Jonah Hex may not qualify as the equivalent of Michael Caine's Jaws IV, it is absolutely stunning in its complete inability to capitalize on the abundant gifts of a cast that includes Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Michael Shannon and Will Arnett.

Oh, Megan Fox is in the film, too. Somehow, that feels more appropriate.

Based on a DC Comic title, Jonah Hex (Brolin) is a 19th century bounty hunter who suffered rather pronounced facial scarring at the hands of the evil Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich), a Confederate bad guy who also murdered Hex's family after Hex accidentally murdered Turnbull's son.

Are you still paying attention?

In case you have any doubt where Jonah Hex is going, Hex ends up going after Turnbull at the request of none other than the President of the United States and with the assistance, kind of, of that ole' western staple of a prostitute (Do I really need to tell you who plays her?) who seems to have an affection for Hex and who also has a few other gifts of sorts.

Unfortunately, acting isn't one of them.

At a mere 84 minutes, including credits, Jonah Hex is a mercifully brief encounter with just about everything that's wrong with contemporary cinema ranging from hyper-stylized but pointless special effects, slipshod plot development, ludicrous dialogue and production quality that can best be described as laughable given the wealth of technology available these days.

Virtually everyone in this cast, with the exception of Fox, has proven more than able to act. So, why don't they? What goes so incredibly wrong here? The film is written by the same crew that gave us the Crank films and Gamer, films that made considerably more than they were worth at the box-office. Thus, it's understandable why Warner Brothers entrusted them with this DC Comic title, featuring an older character from the DC archive that doesn't come close to be fleshed out here.

Brolin essentially mumbles and scowls his way through the film, never quite becoming a caricature but also never quite creating an interesting character. Malkovich fares even worse, with director Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who) clearly in over his head and completely unable to rein the stage actor with histrionic tendencies in to an acceptable decibel. Malkovich grimaces and groans and squeals his way to what is easily one of the year's most laughably bad villains.

Arnett and Shannon aren't nearly as shameful, though the word "nondescript" comes to mind. Megan Fox does what Megan Fox is supposed to do...she strikes a pose, looks beautiful and momentarily distracts you from the awfulness of the film. Aidan Quinn and Michael Fassbender are welcome additions, one only wishes they'd been given something decent to do.

Seldom does a film feel so stitched together, as if the editors looked at the final product and realized they'd best try to piece something decent together before the folks at Warner Brothers got a look at the film. Jonah Hex feels out of joint, uneven and is so completely incoherent that it's difficult to fathom that the finished product actually matches anyone's original artistic vision...assuming, of course, that anyone actually had an artistic vision.

There are film reviews for which I will find myself spending a painstaking amount of time trying to find the perfect words to communicate an accurate critical analysis that will help you decide if the film is for you. Then, there are films like Jonah Hex where the entire goal is to simply finish the review and move on from this cinematically painful chapter in my life.

I suffered so you don't have to. Unless you're a Megan Fox fanboy with no cinematic standards to speak of, then Jonah Hex isn't worth your time.

Forget Jonah this week and go visit with Woody and Buzz instead.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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