Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Out of the pages of the legendary comics and graphic novels steps Jonah Hex, a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort. Jonah’s past catches up with him when the U.S. military offers to wipe out the warrants on his head if he hunts and stop dangerous terrorist Quentin Turnbull.
For more about Jonah Hex and the Jonah Hex Blu-ray release, see Jonah Hex Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on October 14, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, John Gallagher Jr.
Director: Jimmy Hayward
» See full cast & crew
Jonah Hex Blu-ray Review
No thankee, ma'am...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, October 14, 2010
Jonah Hex is the kind of movie where a pack horse comes strapped with a pair of steel miniguns and inadvertently brandishes a ridiculous Mister Ed grin as its saddle-canons go to work. A movie where hand-crafted pistols hurl sticks of lit, freshly packed dynamite at dozens of nameless baddies. Where a shaky drawled Confederate madman acquires weapons of mass destruction and launches them at Washington D.C. from a heavily fortified boat. Where a cage fight between an inexplicably venomous monstrosity goes nowhere. Where a hooker with a heart of gold loves a widowed gunslinger with half a face, murders clients without consequence and clears rooms of henchmen with a pistol. Where funnyman Will Arnett steps in as an arrogant Union commander and Wes Bentley hams it up as an Old Timey, Deep South entrepreneur. Where serpentine smoke and otherworldly crows announce the arrival of... little. It might be based on an obscure (albeit much-loved) DC comicbook, but Jonah Hex feels more like a misguided videogame adaptation without a videogame. Underdeveloped, poorly edited, woefully shallow, over the top of over-the-top and a tragic waste of tremendous talent, it's a plot hole-riddled guilty pleasure at best. And considering how those who do enjoy Hex tend to pair their admission with an apology, that isn't saying much.
Jonah Hex is heavy on story, light on plot. The difference? Hex's gangly, Civil War backstory is unraveled over the course of ten solid minutes of exposition (with plenty more to come), but the subsequent plot -- a scarred ex-Confederate soldier (played with gruff stoicism by Josh Brolin) has to stop former commander Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich, clamping his teeth down on an already chewy script), a heartless monster hellbent on bringing the Union to its knees, from reigning destruction on the nation's capitol -- is flimsy, derivative and tiresome. Driven to avenge his murdered wife and daughter, Hex is presented as a slightly more saintly killer than his comicbook counterpart and even has a few supernatural aces up his sleeve (a miraculous aversion to dying and an ability to commune with corpses among them) that smack of divine intervention. Still, ol' Jonah indulges in just enough law defying, furrowed brow rootin-tootin' to keep one foot squarely in the fire. But not Turnbull. Turnbull is pure, unrepentant, unremorseful evil; a blood-thirsty, hospital-burning bastard of the lowest caliber the Mexican locals call terrorista. (Yep, a terrorist planning to destroy Washington with a superweapon. Thinly veiled political allegory or merely the machinations of an Old West James Bond villain? You decide.) Eventually, Hex and Turnbull have their showdown as everything the disfigured gunslinger holds dear -- personal grudges, redemption and a prostitute named Lilah (Megan Fox, who appears in the film for all of ten minutes) -- hangs in the balance.
Brolin and Malkovich try. They genuinely try. But it'd be easier to put on a production of Hamlet in the kitchenware isle at Walmart than to pump a legitimate emotional undercurrent into screenwriters Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's barebones script. God-awful dialogue is just the beginning of Hex's downhill slide, and the entirety of the film's seventy-plus minutes is more akin to a lesser DCU animated feature than a live-action theatrical release. Horton Hears a Who director Jimmy Hayward, in a fit of bulldog editing, hurries past anything and everything that requires proper development, pacing lurches and lulls, character interactions lack heat and chemistry, crucial scenes seem to have been trimmed or cut altogether, and the narrative itself, brisk and brash as a low-rent, direct-to-video actioner, vaults from train robbery to warehouse shootout with reckless abandon. Even Hayward's action, hyperstylized weaponry notwithstanding, is shallow and nonsensical. Hex relies on miniguns when a pistol would suffice, but comes up short whenever he's out gunned. Dynamite pistols are snazzy in theory, but earn awkward laughs when deployed on-screen. A mud-red dreamscape is the source of a comically telegraphed, essentially meaningless metaphysical battle. Turnbull's train heist is the highpoint of the film, and even it feels inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. And yes, far too many knives are brought to far too many gunfights. Worse? Hex could fill Turnbull with untold lead on three or four separate occasions, but our sullen hero is so lost in his own slowburn turmoil than he fails to pull the trigger in time. (Of course, the moment Quentin steps out of his sights, he doesn't hesitate to decimate the endless stream of henchmen that fill the void.)
Brolin does manage to lend some depth to Hex's one-note vendetta, and Malkovich does a fine job sneering and leering at the hapless fodder that crosses his path. But no amount of glowering and tortured mumbling can save DC's gnarled Western gunman from Hayward, Neveldine and Taylor's gallows. No amount of chop-licking villainy can distract from Turnbull's quest to collect enough Dragonballs to strike fear in the hearts of meddling do-gooders everywhere. Even the film's notable supporting actors -- Aidan Quinn, Michael Fassbender, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Wes Bentley, Lance Reddick and other familiar faces -- are wasted, leaving one to wonder how Hayward was able to lure so much talent onto a sinking ship. Perhaps it wasn't always destined for failure. Maybe the production fell apart at the seams. It's even possible, however unlikely, that Hayward, Neveldine and Taylor had a sharp, sizzling, brilliant little comicbook adaptation in their back pocket and simply botched the execution. I seriously doubt it, but hey... it's possible. Regardless, Hayward's best-laid plans and noblest intentions have produced a mediocre film. It isn't unwatchable -- I actually enjoyed a handful of scenes -- but taken as a whole, it just doesn't work. Too many holes, too many cuts, too many unintentional laughs, too much maligned dialogue, too many ludicrous set pieces, too many undeveloped elements, too many loose ends, too many SFX misfires, too much jug-jug-jugging in the film's hard-rock score, too many missed opportunities and too much unrealized potential. If you can't resist Hex's call, cut your losses and go with a rental.
Jonah Hex Blu-ray, Video Quality
More often than not, Jonah Hex's splosion-scorched 1080p/VC-1 transfer offers everything you'd expect from a shiny new high definition presentation: rich colors, deep blacks, hair-splitting clarity and a fairly proficient encode. Mitchell Amundsen's overcooked photography is awash with sunburnt oranges, otherworldly yellows and searing reds, all of which fit the tone of the film and look as sweaty and sultry as it should. (Skies skew green on occasion and skintones sometimes resemble aging newspaper, but such oddities trace back to Hayward and Amundsen's intentions.) Detail can be incredibly revealing as well. Fine textures are generally well-resolved (barring a few glaring exceptions), edges are sharp and satisfying, and the cavernous pocks on Brolin's disfigured mug rarely falter. Ringing is apparent from time to time and some shot-specific noise reduction is used to grant Hex's lovelorn hooker the satiny skin of a glowing goddess, but it's clear that Hayward, not Warner, is the perpetrator in each case. Unfortunately, other issues aren't so easy to overlook. Moon and fire-lit scenes tend to be murky and muddy, shadows are aggressive and ravenous, night skies are dull and sooty, delineation is dreary and disappointing, and intermittent crush puts a final bullet between the presentation's eyes. Ah well. Inconsistent as it is (particularly during the second and third acts), Jonah Hex still boasts an above average encode that thoroughly outclasses its standard DVD counterpart.
Jonah Hex Blu-ray, Audio Quality
If nothing else, Jonah Hex's ruthless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is loud. Unmercifully loud. The LFE channel, obnoxious and unruly as it can be, launches a full-scale assault on the listener, turning every shotgun blast into a violent explosion and every explosion into a torrential storm. It often amounts to a chest-thumping, window-rattling roar, sure, but it suits the film's over-the-top action sequences and fireball-n-fury sensibilities. Dialogue manages to float above the fray, voices are rarely buried beneath Hayward's chaotic soundscape and Brolin's at-times incomprehensible grunts and murmurs remain clean and clear throughout. Problems? A few. Rear speaker activity is unexpectedly underwhelming, ambience is unnaturally subdued and the whole of the experience is quite front-heavy. And while pans are silky smooth, directional effects are imprecise and the soundfield isn't nearly as immersive as fans might expect. Whether the film's original sound design or Warner's mix is to blame may be up for debate, but the end result is the same. Jonah Hex languishes with an unremarkable lossless track that skirts by on raw power.
Jonah Hex Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Jonah Hex's supplemental package packs some decent heat. First up, an exclusive Picture-in-Picture experience with director Jimmy Hayward that features a variety of interviews with Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich and other members of the cast and crew. It's pure fluff -- the actors wax poetic, everyone is terribly complimentary and Hayward offers little indication of any production problems -- but anyone who gets a kick out of Hex's hyperstylized western antics will enjoy listening to Brolin and his co-stars discuss the legitimacy they tried to inject into all the absurdity. Elsewhere, a second Blu-ray exclusive, "The Inside Story of Jonah Hex" (HD, 11 minutes), will appeal to DC fanboys and newcomers alike. Tracing the history of the scarred anti-hero, his various incarnations and his evolution as a western-comicbook savior, notable DC editors, artists and writers dissect the character and his legacy. Solid stuff. Finally, an abysmal collection of dull, meandering "Deleted Scenes" (HD, 5 minutes) rounds out the supplemental proceedings.
Jonah Hex Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Had Jonah Hex been helmed by the likes of John Hillcoat or James Mangold, I have a feeling I'd be writing an entirely different review. But Hayward's Hex is far more comicbook-y than the comic it's based on, and much of DC's southern-fried anti-hero has been lost in translation. Warner's Blu-ray release is better, but only by a moderate margin. By hook or by crook, its video transfer teeters between impressive and problematic, its DTS-HD Master Audio track isn't nearly as immersive as action junkies will expect and its supplemental package, Picture-in-Picture experience and all, can be exhausted in less than two hours. My advice? Rent first, ask questions later.
Blu-ray bundles with Jonah Hex (3 bundles)
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Jonah Hex. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Jonah Hex in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Jonah Hex Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray - October 12-18 - October 12, 2010
Josh Brolin was one of the unforgettable trio of stars responsible for the success of No Country for Old Men. Megan Fox was catapulted to fame starring beside Shia LaBeouf in the huge Transformers series. John Malkovich is, well, John Malkovich. But all that star ...
• Jonah Hex Blu-ray Announced - August 12, 2010
Warner Home Video has announced the Western Jonah Hex for Blu-ray release on October 12, on a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. This adaptation of a DC Comics series, starring Josh Brolin as a drifter and bounty hunter, was an unmitigated critical and commercial ...
Jonah Hex Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Jonah Hex Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Jonah Hex Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.