Jonah Hex resorts to summer movie cliches

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Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is an ex-Confederate soldier turned bounty hunter whose wife and son were killed by his former commanding officer Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). Hex almost died at Turnbull’s hands himself, an experience that left him with a nasty scar, the ability to talk with the dead, and a really dark sense of humor. As played by Brolin, Hex is a great character. But Jonah Hex isn’t a great movie. Thanks to some sharp writing by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (of Crank fame), parts of the film are inspired. But its spaghetti Western-meets-horror film motif simply doesn’t work. One approach or the other would have sufficed, but everything gets shoehorned into an utterly typical summer action movie plot about a guy who tries to use a super weapon to disrupt the U.S. centennial. Of course, Hex must try to stop this dastardly plan, as well as rescue token love interest Lilah (Megan Fox). A terrible sound mix that frequently buries dialogue under Mastodon’s churning metallic score doesn’t help matters, either. Even with a running time under 90 minutes, the movie feels too long. **

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