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JONAH HEX
Author: Courtney Martin
June 18, 2010
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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort, a stoic, battle-hardened gunslinger who can track down anyone...and anything. Having survived death, Jonah's violent history is steeped in myth and legend, and has left him with one foot in the natural world and one on the "other side." A man fated to wander alone, his sole human connection is with Lilah (Megan Fox), whose life in a brothel has left her with scars of her own.

Jonah's past is about to catch up with him when the U.S. military makes him an offer he can't refuse: in exchange for freedom from the warrants on his head, he must track down and stop the sinister terrorist Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), the man who killed Hex's family and mutilated his face with a branding iron. Turnbull, who is gathering an army and preparing to unleash Hell, is also Jonah's oldest enemy and will stop at nothing until Jonah is dead.

Based on the legendary character from the comic book series from DC Comics, JONAH HEX is an epic action adventure about one man's personal quest for redemption against the canvas of the battle between good and evil.

DIRECTED BY: Jimmy Hayward
WRITTEN BY: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
CAST: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Michael Shannon
STUDIO: Warner Bros.
OFFICIAL SITE: JONAH-HEX.COM
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JONAH HEX is the story of an anti-hero.

Set in 19th century America, Jonah is an ex-confederate soldier, who betrays his commanding officer, Quentin Turnbolt and has no other option but to kill his best friend, Turnboltís son when the orders given to him were less than noble, orders that went against his conscience, orders that just didnít sit right with him. As punishment for treason, he is tied up and forced to watch his house set afire with his family inside. Turnbolt doesnít kill Jonah Hex. He wants Hex to be just as miserable as he is. To add insult to injury, he brands Hexís face to serve as a reminder of ďthe man who took everything from [him].Ē Jonah Hex is barely alive when Native Americans untie him and work their magic to bring him back. Being so very near to death, results in the power to temporarily bring back the dead with touch. They, in turn, can tell him the whereabouts of all those whom they knew while alive.

Josh Brolin is perfectly cast as the disfigured, stoic Jonah Hex, hell-bent at first (though we donít see any of this; itís simply mentioned in the beginning) on avenging the murders of his wife and son. Believing Turnbolt is dead, he resolves to a life of bounty hunting, operating with his own code of right and wrong. But when he learns that Quentin Turnbolt is alive, his purpose is renewed and focused, the vengeance awakened once more, finally set on a specific and its proper target. Hex must put an end to Turnbolt not only to satisfy himself, but to stop Turnbolt from destroying America by means of shiny, deadly, golden balls -- the ammunition for his doomsday weapon.

Megan Fox stars as Lilah, a whore with a heart that beats for Jonah. As Hexís love interest, she isnít the damsel in distress. Pistol packing and ready to throw down at a momentís notice, sheís one tough broad. Remarking later to Hex that ďMama didnít raise no foolĒ, she can hold her own; sheís the female counterpart to Hex. Prostitution pulls in the money, itís her day errr slash night job, but sheíd give it all up for him. Nonetheless, in typical hero-esque fashion, he turns her down for her own safety. He canít have connections; people whom he cares for, get hurt. Young boys and grown men alike, and hell, some woman will appreciate the scantily clad Fox. Not much of a stretch, her character wasnít a deviation from typical roles weíre used to seeing her take on; using her ďfeminine wilesĒ is what she does best.

Backstory is given to us before the action begins. Itís all rushed through like a speed dating session. (Iíve never been to one, but I donít like to be in a hurry; Iíd like more than five minutes -- you can phrase things nicely all you want, but I need some substance!) Much could have been expounded upon. Not to mention, it would have allowed for some much needed character development which doesnít really occur much afterwards. I donít need flashbacks of exposition on the motives behind her career choice (daddy issues?) but a little something, something would have been nice. Speaking of the flashbacks, those and the dream sequences were more often than not, annoying. These storytelling methods were ineffective, sometimes confusing, and thus the minutes used for them could have been dedicated to the present. The final showdown between Turnbolt and Hex, was lackluster. Definitely anti-climatic. Itís easy to see that this flick isnít rated R. A Western meets superhero movie, there is of course action, but we unfortunately donít always see the results of the gun-slinging and general ass kicking.

All in all, I enjoyed JONAH HEX. Sure it could have been better in the construction of the plot and its subsequent depiction on film, but it was action packed, there were enough laughs, it didnít drag on (though perhaps, it could have been a bit longer), and the talented Josh Brolin did not leave me disappointed.

Expecting so much more, perhaps, especially for it to have been much more graphic, the PG-13th rating may piss off fans of the comic, but Iím sure teenage boys will enjoy not having to sneak in to catch a glimpse of Foxís tush.

GRADE: B-

JONAH HEX hits theaters on June 18, 2010.

Texas born and raised Courtney Martin is
a vertically inept college student majoring in Drama at NYU.
She reviews films for BOF.

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