Expectations may be at rock bottom, and there's a myriad of problems and failures in Jonah Hex, but buried within you feel there's something worthwhile - an ambitious genre-bending Western with a charismatic antihero at its centre, perhaps? At 80 minutes, a running time as svelte as star Megan Fox's waist, Hex has been hacked to pieces in the editing room and subsequently fails to find any narrative or emotional traction. The story centres on Brolin's titular gunslinger as he's enlisted to hunt down rogue Confederate officer Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). The pair have history: Hex was responsible for the death of Turnbull's son, which led to the villain killing the hero's wife and child and leaving him with nasty facial scaring.
It's a standard Western revenge tale dressed up with supernatural elements. Hex has the ability to speak to the dead and in one sequence he battles Turnbull in reality and in a dream state. Director Hayward struggles to wrestle together these two disparate strands, leaving Hex a messy and inconsistent experience. Brolin strikes the right note as the cynical bounty hunter, downing shots of whisky and seeing the alcohol shoot out of his torn facial flesh. He's handed some clunky lines, though, particularly in the exchanges with Fox's prostitute Tallulah. “Everyone who gets close to me dies,” he utters gravely. An instance when he bolts upright from a slumber and yells “Turnbuuull!” also provoked titters of amusement.
Despite Brolin's best efforts, he's hamstrung by an almost non-existent supporting cast. Malkovich, who can normally be relied upon to turn it up to 11, is the unlikely picture of restraint. Fox, Will Arnett and Michael Shannon are completely wasted, leaving only Michael Fassbender's terrifying bowler-hat-wearing nut job Burke as the sole character to make an impression. Jonah Hex is a big case of what could have been. A 'Director's Cut' DVD will hopefully restore some depth, coherence and brutality to proceedings - there are flickers of something good here, but in this current form don't bother wasting your time.
> What do you think of the movie? Share your views