A Meagre Bounty
Josh Brolin takes a break from the quality films he’s been turning out over the last couple of years (In the Valley of Elah, American Gangster, No Country For Old Men etc) to star in this forgettable piece of comic book fluff. Adapted from the DC Comics graphic novels by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga, Brolin’s Hex is a Civil War-era bounty hunter driven by revenge after his arch rival Quentin Turnball (John Malkovich) kills his wife and child and leaves him for dead. After his brush with the afterlife gives Hex the power to speak to the deceased, Hex uses his gift to track Turnball to a tumultuous final showdown.
In Brolin’s hands, Hex is a snarling, gritty anti-hero whose pain and need for vengeance can be felt in every heavy footstep. But he sits at odds with his environment, for Jimmy Hayward’s film is a cartoonish melange of cliché set-pieces seemingly ripped straight from the pages of the comic with no thought as to how they would make a coherent on-screen narrative. So it is that Megan Fox’s ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ heroine finds herself with nothing much to do other than offer rather more than a shoulder to cry on to Hex; that Hex’s handful of conversations with corpses are disappointingly dull and that the fights between Hex and Turnball are lacking any real passion. Although Malkovich is clearly relishing the license his character gives him to ham up the screen, it’s difficult to share his enthusiasm amidst the moustache-twirling campery of it all.
True there may be shades of political allegory in Hex’s desperate race to stop Turnball from firebombing the US Capitol, underlined in his (laughable) final line of ‘America Needs a Sheriff’ but to look for such meaning is undeniably to imbue Jonah Hex with far more substance than it deserves. But, at just over 80 minutes it will slot easily into a movie night with friends which is really the best place for it. 2 stars
The DVD has a handful of deleted scenes, while the Blu-ray also has a featurette looking at the history of the character and ‘Maximum Movie Mode’ which lets you watch the film with pop up commentary from the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and anecdotes.DVD: 1 star / Blu-ray: 2.5 stars
Stars Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich
Director Jimmy Hayward
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Distributor Warner Home Video
Released December 27