Jonah Hex has been ripped to shreds by critics — a 5% positive from Rotten Tomatoes creme de la cremes and a 12% positive from the hoi polloi. I saw it a couple of days ago in a jam-packed Warner Bros. screening room, and it was like “oh, I see…it sucks but not that badly.”
I realize what I’m supposed to think and feel. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I couldn’t feel the hate. I got through it and never felt anything stronger than “okay, this isn’t much but it’s not agony to sit through.”
Expectations are everything. I was prepared for something truly awful and rancid, so when it turned out to be merely mediocre — a familiar supernatural “eastern” (much if not most of the action happening along the eastern seaboard and climaxing in Washington, D.C.) that moves along from episode to episode in a heavily CG-ed but reasonably sufficient way, I almost felt placated.
Of course, someone reading this is going to pay to see Jonah Hex and…whatever, become enraged at its awfulness, and then turn around and blame me for saying it was okay. I’m not saying that. It’s a moderately bad film. I’m saying that somehow I managed to watch it without gagging.
It contains echoes of Civil War trauma — feelings of betrayal, the need to settle scores, unresolved rage, etc. — and in so doing seems to be about psychological war wounds in general, which gives it a certain something or other.
Josh Brolin‘s half-dead Jonah is a chip off the Clint Eastwood /”Man With No Name” block — he’s got that gruff, grizzled, greasy hard-boiled thing down pretty well. Megan Fox, to my considerable surprise, isn’t all that bad as Lila, the two-fisted, gun-totin’ prostitute who doesn’t wear too much eye makeup. Michael Fassbender‘s perfomance as Burke, the chuckling Irish-hooligan assistant to John Malkovich‘s Turnbull, the film’s chief baddie-waddie, is spirited and high-sprung.
Friends tell me Jimmy Hayward’s film dishonors the original comic-book series — i.e., isn’t as well written, has invented stupid/inane material, lacks basic intrigue, etc. Okay, fine, no arguments. I couldn’t care less about either property. I’ll probably feel the same way about Cowboys and Aliens.