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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Josh Brolin
John Malkovich
Megan Fox
Will Arnett
Michael Shannon
Michael Fassbender.
Directors
Jimmy Hayward.
Screenwriters
Running Time
81 minutes

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Jonah Hex
How the West was lost…


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Plot
In revenge for causing the death of his Confederate trooper son, Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich) kills fellow soldier Jonah Hex’s (Brolin) family and scars him horrifically. Hex survives and roams the US as a bounty hunter able to converse with the dead, before he’s called upon by the fledgling US government to track down and thwart Turnbull’s plans to unleash a steampunk super weapon on Washington...


Review
Jonah Hex
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There's no getting past it: Jonah Hex is a sorry, muddled mess. After years of development, the DC Comics character has arrived after changing hands between directors, writers and even a studio mandate to tone down what could have been something bloody, brutal and entertaining.

The process has not been kind. Crank duo Neveldine and Taylor were originally tasked with bringing this to the screen, then, after a hurried search, the producers settled on Pixar veteran Jimmy Hayward. Though lacking in live-action experience, he was bursting with Hex love and has re-written the script to suit both his own Spaghetti Western tastes and later requirements that the stronger violent elements be gutted. Time constraints and other factors (including re-shoots with I Am Legend’s Francis Lawrence “overseeing” the work) have all left their toll on the bruised final product.

What remains has been hacked to pieces (an 80-minute running time?!) and left as a confused broth of Gothic Western, Spaghetti style and mid-budget compromise. Brolin, despite gamely trying to work round the prosthetic, never quite pulls off the growly antihero and most of the rest of the actors are simply wasted. Will Arnett, Aidan Quinn, Michael Fassbender, Wes Bentley and even The Wire’s Lance Reddick are all stuffed into the cast, but the script keeps them all limited to shuffling the plot forward. Malkovich, in particular, seems bored throughout, resulting in Turnbull as a deadly dull bad guy. Megan Fox looks good in a corset, but her turn as a prostitute with a soft spot for scarred bounty hunters is leaden.

Good points? Not many: Michael Shannon milks his evil sidekick role for all he’s worth. Hayward has dug up one or two arresting images, such as Hex’s various trips back to life and interactions with the deceased. But otherwise, we’re treated to a bland blend of straightforward action-pic plotting and some misjudged attempts to portray how the half-dead hero perceives the world. A scrap between Hex and Turnbull in particular is primed to drag derisive snorts rather than admiring awe. Hex? Cursed is more like it.


Verdict
Isn’t one Wild Wild West enough? Okay, so Jonah Hex didn’t come with the same expectations, but it’s still an object lesson in how not to adapt a comic book. A crushing disappointment.


Reviewed by James White

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Jonah Hex
Empire Star Rating

not as bad as the reviews say

Good points Not many: Michael Shannon milks his evil sidekick role for all he’s worth don't you mean Michael Fassbender ? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bill the butcher at 16:54, 23 December 2014 | Report This Post


RE: New Definition of Bad!?

By crikey, I do not think bad is a big enough word to encompass just how awful this is. I knew that Megan Fox was a poor actress but here we see new levels of scraping the acting barrel and what happened to John Malkovich's career that he ends up in dross of this type? The plot is risible and so thin they even have to throw in dream sequence fighting in order to pad out the slight (thankfully) running time. If you have a choice between contracting a painful social disease through non pleasan... More

Posted by sanchia at 13:31, 27 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE: New Definition of Bad!?

Jonah Hex 40 minutes. That's all I could take. 0/10 ... More

Posted by KeithM at 23:32, 02 May 2011 | Report This Post


New Definition of Bad!?

Utterly misguided, badly acted, badly edited, badly paced with absolutly nothing to recommend. John Malkovich is impressively terrible. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DMeister at 02:25, 24 March 2011 | Report This Post


NOT AS BAD AS THE REVIEW SUGGESTS, BUT STILL PRETTY MUDDLED AND CONFUSED.....AVERAGE....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisdagnall at 00:18, 15 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

After what i had heard about this film i was expecting so little but what a surprise i got when i actually quite enjoyed it in places. the film overall is just a mess i'll be honest there. but brolin adds to the movie and it does have a sense of fun about it. It tries so hard to be a great movie but just can't do it with its 1hr 20 mins. isnt that tv movie length? i know we moan that films are to long but wow thats just way to short for an origin movie. The potential with the character is the... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Frank Castle at 19:27, 27 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Pig awful, clumsy, ugly & pointless

No, really, It Is as bad as reported. Possibly worse, Nothing to with studio interference here. There's just a cack-handed, nonsensical film that leaves you indifferent almost before the titles have run. If a film is made 3 times, once on paper, once on set and once in the edit then there was never a film to begin with. The script had to have been awful. On set the director probably thought he could use the comic as a storyboard. (News for you, doesn't work, making a film is an active... More

Posted by oui3d at 23:10, 05 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Forgetable

Not as bad as reported but must say it was deffinatley mucked about with in editing how they thought they get the back story such as there was & the storyline in to 81 mins god only knows ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 10:06, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Forgetable

Thats a shame, I thought the initial posters looked good. Still, I'll wait to see how it fairs on IMDB. ... More

Posted by MarcE at 21:00, 01 September 2010 | Report This Post


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