Jonah Hex Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 25th, 2010 at 4:20 pm,

Jonah Hex Header Jonah Hex Review

Screen Rant‘s Paul Young Reviews Jonah Hex

I didn’t set my hopes very high walking into the theater to watch Jonah Hex. I knew it was based on a DC comic book character and that was the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I was a clean slate, my mind a lump of unformed clay just waiting for director Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!) to wrap his hands around it like a scene from Ghost, molding it into something exciting and entertaining.

Well Hayward is no Swayze, because I’m sad to say that Jonah Hex is NOT going to be the surprise hit of the summer.  The film’s story and pacing clods along like a horse who’s thrown a shoe, unbeknownst to the rider.

The pacing issues are largely due to the scatter-brained writing style of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, or as they are known in the credits “Neveldine & Taylor.” Jonah Hex very much follows the fast-paced and hectic styling that N&T have established in their previous works, Crank, Crank: High Voltage and Gamer.

The story of Jonah Hex opens on the main character, played by Josh Brolin, doing a voice over as a group of Confederate soldiers unleash mayhem upon a bunch of unsuspecting Union soldiers. Hex talks about how he was bred for war, how war is in his blood and war is what he is good at. Then there are some jumbled cut shots of a different outfit of Confederate soldiers being captured by the Union Army for reasons that won’t be fully explained until 45 minutes into the film. The audience is just supposed to “go with it” I suppose.

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The opening credits are actually very entertaining and are, in my opinion, the best part of the movie. Hayward has used a modified version of cell shading animation to tell the entire story of who Jonah Hex is in a short 5 minute animated clip. Jonah Hex (as he is called throughout the entire film because no one ever calls him just Jonah – EVER!)  has made an enemy in his former commander Quentin Turnbull, played by the once-great John Malkovich, who’s performance here is only slightly better than Megan Fox’s.

Jonah Hex killed Turnbull’s son and betrayed his unit – so, in an act of retaliation, Turnbull’s burns Hex’s wife and son alive forcing him to watch them die. Then, just to “rub it in,” he scars Hex with a branding iron. But that’s not how Jonah Hex gets that beautiful face we’ve all seen in the trailers. That part comes later.

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So far, even though a couple of minor plot points are hazy, the story is fairly simple and easy to follow – it’s man versus man, mano a mano, the anti-hero pitted against the villain that did him wrong. I get that, and if the writers would have left it to that, the movie probably would be much better. Instead, Turnbull leaves his freshly scarred conquest hanging on an X from which, of course, he survives with help from the Crow Indians. As Jonah Hex explains, he didn’t become immortal, but was close enough to being dead that he can now speak with the dead.

Jonah Hex turns to vigilantism after the supposed death of his archenemies and winds up on the wrong side of the law. However there is one problem: turns out Turnbull was just faking death and has plans to blow up the entire Unites States Union. Um…OK. He wants to do it using a weapon that was invented by…wait for it…Eli Whitney. That’s right, the inventor of the cotton gin apparently was a military weapons genius and designed but never built a super-mega-kill-everything-Gatling cannon.

President Ulysses S. Grant thinks the only person capable of catching and stopping Turnbull is Jonah Hex and soon sets him out on the task. The hunt for Turnbull and his rowdy band of rabble rousers begins and quickly ends 5 minutes later after Jonah Hex talks to a fresh corpse. Along the way Jonah Hex joins up with his favorite prostitute, Lilah (Megan Fox), who gets mixed up in things when Turnbull’s right hand man, Burke, kidnaps her.

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The rest of the film is all loud, chaotic action that makes little to no sense and includes a wealthy Southern gentleman traitor, a black general store owner that builds “high tech” weapons that only get used once, some sort of demon albino cage fighter named “Snake” and what can only be described as a case of Dragonballs. And you get to enjoy all of this action and nonsense to poorly written and executed power rock music. Because, you know, that’s how it was back then…

What worked in Jonah Hex? Josh Brolin’s performance is actually pretty good and there are some scattered moments of humor that work (I liked the bit about the horse’s name) and a couple of the fight scenes are enjoyable.

What didn’t work in Jonah Hex? Megan Fox and John Malkovich’s performances are just plain bad and neither one of them can hold a “Southern” accent. All of these characters live in Georgia and all the actors playing them can do is say “Ya’ll” a few times. It doesn’t help that most of the corny one-liners we hear in the trailer are delivered like they are corny one-liners in the film.

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I can believe a lot when it comes to movies. I can believe that Eli Whitney was a weapons genius, that a giant cannon that will obliterate everything in its path could be built in the late 1800’s and a crow flying out of a man’s mouth during an Indian medicine ritual but I draw the line in the believability sand when Megan Fox turns into a iron slinging Super whore.

Fortunately for moviegoers, Toy Story 3 opens this weekend as well and if Warner Bros. is very lucky, most people will forget that Jonah Hex was even in theaters.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. Ok lets ask the question that no one wants to ask:…

    • you want to know if megan fox gets down and durty right

      • I knew Jonah Hex was a DC comic character, but had never read any of the comics. I went to see the movie today with my dad, and my stepson. We all three enjoyed this movie. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. Josh Brolin did a good job, and though Megan Fox may not be a good Southern prostitute, she does look pretty hott in that corset :)

        Seriously though, it was a good show, you need to go see it.

  2. Why was this movie made?

    • why are any of the movies like this are made?

      • Oh yeah.. money… Thanks anthony.

        • No doubt. Quit wasting time. Give me at least the Flash or even Aquaman. Jonah Heeeexxxxxzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  3. I knew Fox’s performance was gonna be bad. I cringed everytime I heard her “accent” even in the trailers. I’m kind of shocked to hear that Malkovich didn’t give a good performance though. I may check this out when it comes on HBO or TNT someday.

  4. I always knew this movie was going to be awful although honestly, I was expecting an even lower rating. Roles like this make me question Malkovich’s ability to act. :S

  5. A movie with Megan Fox in is terrible??? That’s unbelievable!

    • Lol, after this bombs at the box office, I don’t think we’ll see her in movies anymore.

  6. Thanks for taking a bullet for us. I’ll pass on this one.

  7. “I draw the line in the believability sand when Megan Fox turns into a iron slinging Super whore.” – AWESOME!!!

  8. Dissapointed but not shocked. I’ve always liked Hex but I expected this to suck so no surprise here.

  9. There are a number of things here that saddens me.

    First- I had already made the choice long before now NOT to see the picture, based on the fact that the “Jonah Hex” everyone was going for was the lame brained DC re-imagined version which went towards science fiction and the supernatural. The version that everyone wanted to make for years didn’t have the supernatural involved. Just a western with action. But because DC introduced the supernatural into Hex, it becomes “legit” in the eyes of the hypocrites among the comics fans. (The origin story told in this film IS NOT from the comics origins by any stretch- look it up and you could get a sense of what might have been a better story to tell…but not one complaint from “the comics fanboys” NOT ONE. That’s what I mean by “hypocrites”.)

    Second, I chose not to see this film on the basis of the talent in front of and behind the scenes. I’m not a huge N/T fan. Granted, they didn’t direct this, but that news made me iffy. The director of Horton was an interesting choice, I was willing to give him a chance. Still, it wasn’t promising. Then they cast Megan Fox. That sealed it for me. But imagine if the film was more like 300, or better yet, Renaissance…but nothing gets me pumped for seeing the film. Upon discovering some of the good actors have limited time and the film is 83 minutes, including credits? That gives me all the more reason NOT to go. And I liked the character before DC went supernatural with him. Will I ever see the version of the “Hex” I know? Probably not. Will folks scream for a reboot or restart? Probably not. See, with Fox, the heavy metal score, the cheeseball ad campaign (which was SLOPPY) it just says ‘this is your brain. you don’t have to leave it at the door, it’ll dissolve into a cherry slush drink regardless’.

    Third, I notice a lot of critics taking aim at the fact that Hex is not a superhero, and thus, WB made a mistake here. I hope they don’t take that to heart. I still want to see an Enemy Ace film one day. And who knows…maybe Sgt. Rock and Easy Co. might get a day in the sun yet.

    Four…and this is a big one. How does this look for the Western genre?
    Not good. We can have all the Unforgivens and 3:10 To Yumas we want, but give me one dog in this genre and Hollywood folks shiver in terror.

    Five…OPENING AGAINST TOY STORY 3. You deserve to die a horrible, horrible death.

  10. I thought this was a Jonah Hill bio pick?

    Oh its a Western,,,

  11. I saw it just a few hours ago. Brolin was very believable as Jonah Hex and the action was pretty cool, but that wasn’t enough to save this movie.

    But the character overall still has enough potential for a successful movie. The guy working on this was a bit more of an animated director than a live-action director which is most likely it’s big downfall. Now if it was given to someone along the lines of Ron Howard, James Mangold, or Robert Rodriguez. Jonah Hex never had powers (A somewhat interesting but flawed factor) and didn’t need powers. If this movie gets a reboot I hope they make a more gritty western with a scarred bounty hunter instead of this.

    If it doesn’t get a reboot, then I’ll see in my future directorial career to give it one if possible.

  12. Megan Fox and the dog was the best part of the movie IMO Josh Brolin was so bad in it

  13. Despite not liking westerns, or Fox, or Malkovich, i was willing to give this a chance due to the supernatural angle, but the anachronistic technologies have me thinking i’ll avoid it like the plague. Or maybe just get the DVD and fast forward to the bits with the talking corpses.

  14. Hey at least there’s a dog in it! If its a cute dog you can count me back in.

  15. Just for the record,
    somebody called him Jonah TWICE in one scene.

    • They also called him Hex a few times.

      • Wait you two actually PAID to see this?

  16. I think you should trademark “Iron slinging super whore.”

    • OR apply it to the character of Pepper Potts if the producers replace Gwyneth Paltrow with (*shudder*) PARIS HILTON!

      • LOL.. good one

  17. How much money did they spend on this movie? I agree with Paul’s assessment (2/5) and think they will lose big on this one.

  18. Did you read some of these?


  19. I really, really, really wanted this movie to be good, but by the looks of it that’s not the case. I do have an issue with one of the criticisms though: Although having a heavy metal score in a Western is certainly a misguided choice, we have to remember who’s doing the scoring here: MASTODON. Their awesomeness must be able to overpower any problems the movie has.

  20. i didn’t even know it was in the theaters. haha. hard to believe john malkovich’s acting is bad. he’s losing his touch.