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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: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 10/12/2010

Bonus:
• “The Weird, Western Tales of Jonah Hex” Picture-in-Picture Feature
• Additional Scenes
• “The Inside Story of Jonah Hex” Featurette


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Jonah Hex [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 20, 2012)

Most the most 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 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 particular, but the movie just 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 Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A/ Bonus B

Jonah Hex appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I found a consistently terrific transfer here.

Sharpness was always good. All shots came across as tight and concise, without any softness to mar them,. I saw no issues with moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. 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 good. A couple might’ve been a wee bit too thick, but the majority of the low-light shots provided solid clarity. All in all, the movie looked great.

I felt totally impressed by the lively DTS-HD MA 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.

How did the picture and audio of the Blu-ray compare to those of the film’s DVD version? Both showed improvements, especially in terms of visuals. For a standard DVD, I thought Hex looked pretty good, but the Blu-ray boasted noticeably stronger clarity and accuracy. As for the audio, the lossless mix showed similar scope but offered a bit more punch and power.

The Blu-ray includes extras not found on the DVD. First and foremost, we get The Weird, Western Tales of Jonah Hex. An interactive picture-in-picture feature, this offers footage from the set, concept art, storyboards, and comments from filmmakers. We hear from director Jimmy Hayward, producers Andrew Lazar and Akiva Goldsman, executive producer Ravi Mehta, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio, production designer Tom Meyer, stunt coordinators Christopher O’Hara and Steven Ritzi, supervising art director Seth Reed, 1st AD Milos Milicevic, special effects coordinator David Waine, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, location manager Elston Howard, makeup department head Christian Tinsley, stunt performer William Spencer, property masters Keith Walters and Scott Maginnis, and actors Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Will Arnett, Megan Fox, John Gallagher, Jr., Wes Bentley, Michael Fassbender, and Michael Shannon.

They discuss what led them to the project, the script and adapting Hex for the screen, cast, characters and performances, sets, locations and visual design, action and stunts, various effects, costumes and period details, props and makeup, and some other filmmaking notes.

Across the board, “Tales” delivers a high-quality take on the production. With only 73 minutes or so at its disposal, the program packs in nearly constant information, and the material seems quite good. We get a fine array of subjects and find many useful notes about the different areas. While I don’t much care for the movie itself, I like this engaging picture-in-picture track.

More info shows up via a featurette called The Inside Story of Jonah Hex. In this 10-minute, 53-second program, we hear from DiDio, Brolin, illustrators Tony Dezuniga and Timothy Truman, and writers Joe Lansdale and Jimmy Palmiotti. “Story” looks at the origins of the Hex character and aspects of his development as a comic book character as well as his shift to the big screen. Though this piece feels somewhat fluffy, it still delivers a good overview. We learn a fair amount about Hex in this tight show.

Three Deleted Scenes run a total five minutes, 11 seconds. These include a 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.

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 Blu-ray offers excellent picture and audio plus supplements that include a good picture-in-picture commentary. I can’t recommend this lackluster adventure, but at least the Blu-ray reproduces it well.

To rate this film, visit the original review of JONAH HEX

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