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"Jonah Hex" - {Blu-Ray}
Chris Pandolfi
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date:
Special Features:

See Below


As much as I hate sounding like a cinematic apologist, I can't deny it when I enjoy a film in spite of almost universal disdain. Having given passing grades to critically lambasted films like "10,000 B.C.," "The Women," "Nine," and most recently, "Legion," I will once again raise my voice in defense of "Jonah Hex," a loud, aggressive, lightning-quick revenge tale that seems to have no qualms about its delightfully preposterous premise or its gloriously fantastical vision of nineteenth-century America. It was made, I believe, not only in the spirit of fun as an escapist action spectacle, but also as a statement - weak though it may be - about terrorism and modern nuclear war. Have better films been made with these qualities? You bet. Still, this movie achieved everything it wanted to achieve, and with all due respect to those who wrote scathing reviews, sometimes you can't ask for any more than that.***

Adapted from the comic book by John Albano and Tony Dezuniga, the film tells the story of the title character (Josh Brolin), who in the 1860s served the Confederate Army before disobeying a direct order and being forced to kill one of his fellow soldiers. That soldier's father, Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), retaliated by killing Hex's family and branding the right side of his face, turning it into a gaping mass of scar tissue. Although never adequately explained, it seems Hex gained supernatural powers from his near death experience, namely the ability to raise the dead with a touch of his hand. This will come in handy on more than one occasion; it's especially fun, in its own ghoulish way, when he has to dig up the grave of Turnbull's son to extract information.***

But I'm getting ahead of the story. Believing Turnbull dead, Hex has spent the last number of years as a lawless bounty hunter, driven by profit instead of loyalty, sought after only as a last resort. And that's exactly where the American government is at; President Ulysses S. Grant (Aiden Quinn) has learned that Turnbull is still alive, plotting to destroy Washington D.C. on July 4, 1876, America's centennial. Grant and his staff know that only Hex can stop him. Hex accepts their offer, not out of patriotism but because he and Turnbull have unfinished business. In many ways, the two are exactly the same: Both have lost loved ones; both are driven by revenge; both hate the American government. So what exactly would Hex get out of this if he were to succeed? He's certainly not looking to be a national icon.***

Tagging along is Hex's love interest, a prostitute named Lilah (Megan Fox), who isn't given all that much to do except look hot, fight men twice her size, deliver smart-aleck one-liners, and pack weapons in all sorts of naughty places. It's hard to find another angle of approach here; apart from the obvious visual appeal, I suspect nothing of value would have been lost if this character had been eliminated from the screenplay. Honestly, she's about as necessary to the plot as the appendix is to the human digestive system. Of course, we don't begrudge the appendix just because it happens to be useless. So why should we begrudge this character? How can we given the fact that the plot is equally useless?***

The film runs at a brisk eighty minutes, and that includes the end credits. What I find amazing is that, with such a short running time, director Jimmy Hayward still managed to tell a cohesive and fairly complete story, which makes me second-guess my belief that being thorough doesn't necessarily mean being exhaustive; I learned pretty much everything I needed to know about the plot, the settings, and the characters, the only exception to the latter being Lilah. Perhaps this is because nothing about the story is based in reality - not even the Civil War, which had only passing references to begin with, seems genuinely depicted. Or perhaps it's because there wasn't much to expand on, the characters being little more than stick-figure caricatures. Whatever the case, its length had no real impact on its quality, and that's really saying something.***

I guess what I'm saying is that I enjoyed this film specifically for its silliness, its tongue-in-cheek attitude to the material, its comic book mindlessness. I also enjoyed the allusions to past and present political situations, specifically as related to the development and usage of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Granted, the allusions are momentary at best; what you're really supposed to focus on is the fun.

Special Features:

Picture-in-Picture Feature, called"The Weird Western Tales of Jonah Hex," where you can play the movie with the filmmakers taking you behind the scenes,"The Inside Story of Jonah Hex" Featurette,The Combo Pack also has a digital copy,extra scenes and BD-Live access

Final Words:

"Jonah Hex" will never be considered a great film. It won't even be considered a good film. In all likelihood, it will be forgotten ten years down the line. Nevertheless, I do think it can be enjoyed as the violent flight-of-fancy it was so clearly intended to be. If there ever was a movie made purely for your entertainment, this would be it.***


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