I love the western genre, I love comics, and I'm a fan of Josh Brolin. So imagine my thrill at seeing the movie poster for Jonah Hex for the first time. Refusing to pay for overpriced movie tickets, I typically wait for DVD. So last night I finally got around to seeing the movie. We were warned by many critics, so expectations were low, but the movie was even worse than I thought.
An ex-Confederate soldier, Jonah Hex, turns traitor to his cause. So a superior officer disfigures him and kills his family. The remainder of the film is a revenge plot as Jonah tracks the man who killed his family. In fact, the U.S. government has hired him to do so since the ex-Confederate general is now terrorizing the land to keep his "cause" alive though the war is long over. Jonah's "love" interest is a prostitute and his dog was rescued from perpetraitors of animal cruelty. So far that sounds really good and a plot like that could really be developed into a great story. But it was a missed opportunity.
The movie is mainly a long string of people and things being blown up, burned up, and shot up. The climactic fight scene is hard to follow since it's actually two fight scenes interspersed. One of those fight scenes is also interspersed with a dream sequence. The two fight scenes and dream sequence are interspersed with a bombing attack on Washington D. C. The camera switches from one thing to another at rapid speed and you feel like you're on a tilt-a-whirl. What a jumbled up mess!
Even bad films sometimes have redeeming traits. It may be the cinematography, the character development, or the art direction. Well, not this one. It's just all-over bad. Nor was it very true to the comics in which Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have managed to tell some straight-forward western tales without all the voodoo, necromancy, and James-Bondesque weaponry of the film. Will Hollywood ever learn that faithful adaptations of good characters are much better? That is why Batman Begins and Spiderman are my favorite comic movies of all time.
The good news, however, is that Josh Brolin will be going west again in the near future. He is no stranger to westerns having done a superb job as James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickock on the three-year run of Young Riders. He also played historical figure Jedidiah Smith on Steven Spielberg's Into the West TV mini-series.
Brolin's latest project, again with Spielberg at the helm, premieres in theatres on Christmas Day. It's a remake of True Grit with Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. Just the previews send a chill of anticipation up my spine. I think Brolin's the bad guy and some are saying that Bridges won't fill the shoes of a character made famous by John Wayne. But as far as I'm concerned Rooster Cogburn is a fictional character and not the Duke himself. So I'm willing to give Bridges a chance. I may even buy an overpriced movie ticket. Maybe.
As far as Jonah Hex, read the comic and don't waste time on the movie. Not even a great cast ensemble could save this one from the recycle bin.
My rating: D