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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jimmy Hayward
Cast:
Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Will Arnett, Michael Fassbender, John Gallagher Jr., Tom Wopat
Writing Credits:
William Farmer (story), Mark Neveldine (and story), Brian Taylor (and story), John Albano (characters appearing in magazines published by DC Comics), Tony Dezuniga (characters appearing in magazines published by DC Comics)

Tagline:
Revenge Gets Ugly.

Synopsis:
Out of the pages of the legendary comics and graphic novels steps Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin), a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort who can track 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." His one human connection is with Lilah (Megan Fox), whose life in a brothel has left her with scars of her own. But Jonah's past catches up with him when the U.S. military makes him an offer he can’t refuse: to wipe out the warrants on his head, he must hunt and stop dangerous terrorist Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). But Turnbull, now gathering an army and preparing to unleash Hell, is also Jonah's oldest enemy and will stop at nothing until Jonah is dead.

Box Office:
Budget
$47 million.
Opening Weekend
$5.379 million on 2825 screens.
Domestic Gross
$10.539 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $28.98
Release Date: 10/12/2010

Bonus:
• Additional Scenes
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Jonah Hex (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 19, 2010)

Most of the super-successful comic book movies come from “heavy hitter” characters such as Batman and Spider-Man. However, that doesn’t mean that lesser-knowns can’t do fine as well. No, the likes of Hellboy and Blade didn’t earn mega-jillions, but they established decent audiences for themselves.

Someone thought Jonah Hex might muster a new franchise, so the film – titled Jonah Hex, natch – got a prime summer 2010 opening date. It flopped – it really flopped. The movie earned a ridiculously low $10 million in the US and barely received a release overseas. With a budget of $47 million, Hex was relatively cheap for a big summer flick, but it didn’t come close to recouping its costs.

And the critics hated it, too! Given its utter failure to find favor among almost any camp, I formed a perverse desire to see the film and decide if Hex deserved its fate.

The flick starts with a prologue set during the American Civil War. Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) fights for the Confederates under shdjsahkd Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). When Hex ignores orders so he can save a hospital, Turnbull’s son dies and the commander holds Jonah responsible.

To get revenge, Turnbull torches Hex’s house, an action that kills Jonah’s wife Cassie (Julia Jones) and son Travis (Luke James Fleischmann). Turnbull also brands Hex’s face with his initials and leaves him for dead. Hex survives – barely - and gets revived by an Indian tribe.

But the Indians can’t bring Hex all the way back, which leaves him with an odd “gift”: he can communicate with the dead. This helps him on his quest to find and kill Turnbull, but it ends up that a hotel fire does the job for him, so his nemesis dies before he can enact his revenge. Without that mission, Hex turns to bounty hunting; he pursues clearly guilty parties for profit.

As it turns out, rumors of Turnbull’s death were exaggerated, and he conducts terrorist acts in the US. These occur close to the US Centennial in 1876, and President Ulysses Grant (Aidan Quinn) fears that Turnbull plans to seek a powerful weapon. The President figures only one man can stop Turnbull’s plan: Jonah Hex.

With the awful box office take I mentioned earlier and a miserable Rotten Tomatoes index score of only 13 percent, one might expect Hex to provide a genuinely awful film. It’s not, but it is a genuinely mediocre and forgettable film.

What went wrong? Nothing in extreme, but the movie suffers from a general feeling of “cruise control”. No one ever really seems to be in charge of the project, as it simply tosses out the expected violence and mayhem without much drama or panache to go along with it.

The negligible plot and development don’t help. We learn only the rudiment of the Hex/Turnbull relationship, so their hatred for each other never manages to gain much traction. Supporting characters fare even less well; for instance, traditional “hooker with a heart of gold” Lilah (Megan Fox) comes along for the ride, but we don’t find out much about her or really care. She’s there as eye candy and an inevitable damsel in distress – backstory, schmackstory!

I’m not sure why Hex seems to dispense with niceties like story and character development. No, I don’t expect great dimensionality from a summer movie based on a comic book, but surely the filmmakers could’ve tried harder to rise above the standard braindead shoot-‘em-up territory.

This seems especially true since Hex clocks in at a mere 82 minutes – and the long end credits mean the story finishes around the 73-minute mark. That barely qualifies as feature-length, and I see no clear reason the movie needed to be so short. Perhaps the filmmakers figured the “short ‘n’ sweet” emphasis on action would make it more winning, or maybe they thought that the additional showings theaters could run would help it make a jillion dollars.

Both were wrong. Again, Hex never qualifies as a bad movie. It seems darker than usual for most summer fare – indeed, it’s so violent that it must’ve flirted with an “R” rating – and it features a nice cast. In particular, Brolin delivers a reasonably gruff and dynamic lead performance. Hex also looks pretty good, as it provides a nice western sensibility.

Hex just doesn’t ever manage to do anything especially memorable or engaging, though. It rushes through its flimsy story and barely makes an impact. At no point does it qualify as a bad film, but it never flirts with greatness – or even averageness – either.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus D

Jonah Hex appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though not without concerns, the transfer usually looked positive.

Sharpness was surprisingly good, given the format’s limitations. A little softness crept in at times, but the movie mostly provided nice clarity and delineation. Unfortunately, artifacts could make the film a little noisy and created a mild distraction. I saw no issues with moiré effects, at least, and edge haloes were minor, but some blockiness occurred at times. This usually popped up during zoom in shots; those tended to come with rough edges. Source flaws were non-existent.

In terms of palette, Hex stayed with a decidedly low-key set of colors. Occasionally, we got some bloody reds, but those instances were infrequent. Otherwise, this was essentially a sepia affair. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows were decent. I thought some low-light shots could be a bit too thick, but they weren’t a significant problem. Overall, this was a satisfactory transfer.

I felt more impressed by the lively Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Hex, as it offered enough pizzazz to merit “A”-level consideration. The soundfield created a terrific sense of place and threw out fine action when appropriate. The movie’s various fight/pyrotechnic sequences boasted vivid material that showed up around the spectrum in a lively manner.

Other aspects of the track satisfied as well. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and quieter scenes were convincing, too. These showed a clear sense of place and meshed together in a pleasing way.

Audio quality always excelled. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch. Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. I liked this track and thought it added a lot to the movie.

Almost no extras show up here. Three Deleted Scenes run a total five minutes, nine seconds. These include creepy supernatural sequence in New Orleans, Jonah’s first meeting with his military partners, and Lilah and Doc Cross on the stagecoach to New Orleans. None are bad, really, but none of them seem particularly useful or interesting, either.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Inception, Lost Boys: The Thirst, Jonah Hex motion comics and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. No trailer for Hex appears.

One of summer 2010’s biggest bombs, Jonah Hex didn’t deserve such a miserable fate. On the other hand, it didn’t deserve much success, either, as it provided a pretty flimsy, forgettable flick. The DVD offers pretty good picture and excellent audio but skimps on supplements. Leave this one for big fans of the character; it seems unlikely to entice others.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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