Let's face it; 'Jonah Hex' had the potential to be a great action film, if it fell into the right hands. Sadly those hands aren't the ones of animator/director Jimmy Hayward. With a pretty decent cast, a previously developed storyline and a tough guy with a loyal following, the tools were all lined up for him, begging to be used.
Unfortunately what we are left with is a comic that has somehow been transformed into a cheap, almost video game type of movie, with a protagonist deserving of better and a disjointed plot featuring as many holes as Hex's scarred face.
The film begins promisingly. Ex-solider Hex (Brolin) is forced to watch his family burn to death at the hands of another veteran, Turnbull (Malkovich), because of an honest decision that went horribly wrong. The flames of the fire are then used on Hex's face and he is scarred for life. Now a bitter, callous bounty hunter, Hex finds himself talking to the dead and visiting his prostitute love interest Lilah (Fox) in an attempt to track down the man who destroyed his family.
When it comes to Hollywood hype, I can't help but feel that this film is a huge missed opportunity to make Hex one of the greatest movie anti-heroes out there. Instead of the super powerful action man we are expecting, Brolin's Hex turns out to be like John Wayne gone wrong, gunning down multiple targets before they even have the chance to put a hand on their guns. It's like the whole thing is trying to be something it's not. Perhaps a simpler plot and better acting would have made the film more engaging and not like a school play.
Some scenes are just downright bizarre (the blackbird that emerges from Hex's mouth) and should have been cut in the obviously gruelling editing process the film went through. The thrills and excitement that should have been bubbling up inside us just fail to arise. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that every time something slightly stimulating seems like it's going to happen, the scene either fades or turns into an animation.
Although she only appears in a handful of scenes, Fox does the best with what she's given and plays the part of the eye-candy well. Possibly one of the most irritating and stereotypical Irish characters to ever appear on screen is the jig-dancing, ballad-singing wee little leprechaun, Burke (Fassbender). His impressive fight sequence is overshadowed by his terrible, inaccurate accent, that makes the nanny from 'Sex and the City 2' seem like she's been living in Ireland all her life.
This is the second feature film directed by Hayward. His previous endeavours include the hugely successful 'Finding Nemo' and 'Toy Story 2', but after sitting through this, it's clear he can't seem to break away from his animation roots.
'Jonah Hex' lacks the edge a proper Western should have, instead opting for the safe route of light fight scenes - all that was needed were speech bubbles with boom! and pow! appearing overhead.
Cowboy-loving kids and Country and Western-adoring Dad's might get some amusement out of this, but maybe just buy them the DVD. That way you won't have to go with them.