John Malkovich phoning it in is about the same as Megan Fox putting her all into her acting. By that I mean their respective southern accents aren’t annoying. That’s really the main lesson I learned from Jonah Hex. Well, that and how to ruin a movie with thirty seconds of animation.
The crux of the story is Quinton Turnbull (Malkovich) killing Jonah Hex’s (Josh Brolin) family then branding him and leaving him for dead.Then we have that annoying animation the renders half the plot points in the first hour of the movie redundant, draining all the tension out of the story effectively ruining the narrative.
It's probably the simplest, most cost effective way to completely ruin a movie I’ve ever seen.
The plot is pretty much from the Will Smith Wild Wild West . Angry southerner doesn’t want United States to survive, gets his hands on a Super Weapon, powered by the dark magicks of Eli Whitney (looking like it belongs in an episode of Disney’s The Gummi Bears), and away we go.
Hex gets wind of these nefarious doings and, at the behest of an oddly sober President Grant (Aiden Quinn), he goes to stop Turnbull and his band of henchmen, including an Irish psycho (Michael Fassbender) with a Maori tattoo on his chin. There’s a few fight sequences between this Looney Potato Eater and Hex, though they’re more confusing than anything else, and of course Hex eventually gets the better of him.
Megan Fox is in this movie too, but like a vast majority of her roles, she isn’t given much to do and isn’t really relevant to the plot. People appear to cast Megan Fox to distract from their inability to write women. There are worse ways to do it, like Brian DePalma or Frank "WhoresWhoresWhores" Miller will just have them raped and/or murdered. This is what progress looks like, unfortunately. Her character, whose name escapes me, is not in anyway interesting but does have a very tiny waist.
Hex, on the other hand, is the most interesting character in this movie which is good since his name is on the title. He is kind to animals, generally polite to women and at best crass to other men when he’s not shooting them dead. Brolin gives a dogged performance as Hex, playing more or less the character he played in No Country For Old Men, but with magic powers.
The opening animation is more is less the first grievous error that brings the rest of the films flaws into glaring relief. The portrayal of Ulysess S. Grant as the President was, again, a little more sober than history would suggest, but that pales in comparison to casting Lance Reddick in something that only gives him about five minutes of screen time. I could watch two hours of him giving the "Shining up shit and calling it gold" speech from The Wire. To only have him play the Whistler to Hex’s Blade is a crime.
This movie works easily with Wild Wild West, in fact. But I warn you, you’ll come away thinking you’ve watched the same movie twice...and that it wasn't very good.