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Jonah Hex (2010) Print E-mail
Monday, 18 October 2010
ImageMy oh my.  What are we supposed to do with this film?  I don’t even think it can really be classified as a film.  It lacks everything that makes cinema, cinema.  There is an attempt at an already clichéd plot, but that fails.  The script is simply terrible.  You have to cringe at the acting that tries to bring the script to the audience.  It could very possibly win a Razzie Award for editing.  The list goes on an on.

“Jonah Hex” does not even reach the potential of simply being a blockbuster summer action film.  It seems that everyone making this movie just wanted to rush through everything and move on, realizing that they were never going to make the film work.  With barely an 80-minute runtime, shorter than most animated features, we certainly can’t expect much.  But thankfully it didn’t drag on any longer.

I think the creators where trying to make this a “Ghost Rider ” part two.  “Jonah Hex” doesn’t even hold a candle to “Ghost Rider.”  Not by a long shot.  Hex is a comic book hero that has been long forgotten.  While Hex has a cult following it is not popular enough to spawn a major film adaptation.

You know what you are in for when the film opens with a horse packed with mini guns in the old west, just after the Civil War.  Hex’s (Josh Brolin) family is murdered by Turnbull (Malkovich) who was returning the favor of killing his only son to him.  So naturally, Hex devotes his pathetic life to hunting down Turnbull to exact his revenge.  Unfortunately for him Turnbull is believed to be dead.  No spoiler here as if he wasn’t really alive then we wouldn’t even have the movie that we do have.

Turnbull is hunting down a weapon of mass destruction, akin to a mini atomic bomb, piece by piece.  Basically, the thing is a heavy cannon with some magical ball that makes all the other cannon balls explode.  Confused?  You are not alone.
What this film comes down to is a movie that looks like the cutting room floor.  It feels like the filmmakers kept the wrong edit, discarding the good material and making a film from the pieces that were supposed to be scrapped.  Nothing is developed in terms of story, not there is much to develop anyway.  There are numerous pointless sequences.  And then there are the battle sequences that cut all over the place that you have no idea what is going on and then poof, it’s over.  This comes back to the editing and the Razzie Award.  I lost count of how many instances in which 180-degree line rules are broken and in which a scene that is supposed to take place in one place results in a combination of sets.  Utterly confusing.  Check it out and you will see exactly what I am talking about.

With the movie being what it is, I thought at least there would be great video quality.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  While the average viewer will accept the video transfer, more attuned eyes will catch the blatant issues.  There are numerous filmmaker-intended issues that bug me.  In particular, the noise reduction applied to Megan Fox’s facial features is disturbing.  It washes away all the detail in her face and gives her this flat, washed, glow look.  Yes, it is intentional, but it bugs me.  It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the image quality.  When it comes to video transfer there are many inconsistencies.  Dark sequences suffer from unresolved and muddy black levels.  Crushing is also frequent.  The overuse of hue/saturation for the time period, in particular the oranges and yellows can lead to fluctuations at times and occasional banding.  Colors are deep and rich and are for the most part very appealing.  But ultimately, the lack of any real shadow delineation hinders my viewing experience.  Details and textures in daylight sequences are razor sharp.  While the film looks above average for the most part, there are too many jarring instances to be considered a fluid transfer.

The audio track is fairly underwhelming as well, despite its constant chest-pounding quality.  Dialogue is the worst.  So much of it is lost amidst the sound effects.  Of course, with the dialogue as bad as it is the loss of dialogue in the audio track could be considered a blessing.  The LFE channel can get a bit out of hand at times, but the same goes for the nature of the film itself, so it works.  Rear channel activity comes and goes, which is a surprise to me.  I really expected this audio track to be bang ‘em up shoot ‘em up from beginning to end.  This is basically the case with the front channels, but the rear channels are spotty.  There were a couple instances of very nice enveloping in reverberated halls.  However, this is the exception and not the norm.  There are so many layers to the sounds that the mixers seemed to give up.  There is no real clarity in sound effects and localization is spotty as well.  Ah well, the audio track suits the film just fine.

The supplemental package of this release is better than the film itself.  There is a PiP function that provides fluff interviews with cast and crew members.  There is nothing insightful here but it more entertaining to watch the film with the PiP enhancement.  “The Inside Story of Jonah Hex” takes a look at the comic book.  Lastly, there are a few deleted scenes that may as well been in the film because they are just as bad.  The Blu-ray release also comes with a second disc that functions as a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy.

“Jonah Hex” is a definite skip in my book.  I might have suggested it as a rent if it had terrific audio and video, but even those are just above average.  Move on folks.

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