10.14.2010

What Happened To Your Face?

JONAH HEX (2010)
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Alright. So this isn't Halloween per se. But Hex's face is...pretty terrifying. I mean, he's basically got an extra mouth on his cheek. So it kind of counts. The thing is, I watched the movie all the way though, and then the credits began to roll. And normally, this is the part where I go "Whoohoo! Let's do that one again!" or "Eh. That was a bad decision." Instead, I simply slouched in my couch, and I couldn't make up my mind at all about the movie. I'll say this upfront. It was a good movie. The trailers set up certain promises, and the movie fed into (nearly) every one of them. At the same time, it felt a little like it scraped by with doing the bare minimum. 

The premise was fantastic. Old world meets new weapons. Cowboys with machine guns. I'm all for it. The machinery was awesome--crossbows on fire, golden atomic bombs, and the rifle flame thrower. Clearly, someone had a lot of fun coming up with all this shit. And it worked, and blended in perfectly with the Western set up. However, the movie felt like it was trying to squeeze too much into too little. Which was silly because...it really shouldn't have had that much to work with. What the movie couldn't quite figure out was we don't CARE about the big massive super weapon. As fucking badass as it is...the whole point of the weapon is to make Turnbull this extremely powerful and dangerous villain. That's it. When I see the weapon, I want to see it explode some shit, I want to see Turnbull look sadistically pleased, and bam. End of story. I don't need to have a minor plot line where Washington officials just keep talking about how dangerous this weapon is. I saw it demolish a whole city--I know what it's capable of. 

The fact is, the movie focused too much on the logistics of the plot and didn't give us enough of what we came for: the characters. The thing is, they set us up with some really cool characters. Jonah Hex with his ugly face, his ambiguous morality, and his ability to...talk to the dead? Yeah. That was badass. That needed to introduced sooner. Not to mention, Josh Brolin has a talent for being awesome in just about anything he does. Then there was Turnbull, one of John Malkovich's less impressive roles, but nonetheless, good for what he was. And--more or less the reason I wanted to see the movie in the first place--Turnbull's right hand man, Burke, played by Michael Fassbender. Michael Fassbender and Josh Brolin nailed the feel of the movie--they overacted a little, they were extravagant, eccentric characters. Josh Brolin growled out his lines like he was chewing on bullets and Fassbender snickered his way through the movie like a sadistic leprechaun. They were comic book characters. On the other hand, Turnbull wasn't as impressive as his weapon, and Lilah (Megan Fox), the take-no-prisoners feisty prostitute, was cool, but not cool enough. She had some moments of badassitry, and yet I wanted her to be MORE badass. She was cool on her own; her little skirmish with the John was awesome. But once she's standing side-by-side with Hex, it's hard to remember that she's more than just "the girl". He's so epic, and Megan Fox hides in his shadow once they finally pair up instead of complimenting him with her own style of ruthlessness. 

My ultimate problem with the movie was that everything was, essentially, there, they just didn't use it all to it's full extent. I could feel the build up, and then the pay off somehow would lack that epic finish. I loved, for example, the moments when they really went all out. The moments when Hex was talking to the reanimated corpses, for example, or when he was being resurrected and choked out a black crow. Those moments were COOL. They were unexpected and all out. And yet at other points, the movie moved at a shy pace, as though afraid to push it too far. The best example I can think up was when Burke went to collect Lilah and had that little moment with her. Now, we know Lilah is fully capable of defending herself, and we know Burke is one sadistic shit. This has all been set up for us. And yet, when they finally come together and he's about to kidnap her, all her has to do is give her one punch and she settles into submission. I just wanted to grab the screenwriters and tell them: When in doubt, take it to the next level. Push it too far. I'd rather be shocked at something on screen than bored by it. 

All in all, the premise was fun, the movie was ultimately enjoyable, but it just lacked that extra kick that would have really made it an excellent movie. 

5 comments:

  1. Good review. Definitely agree with you. It should have been like Crank or Punisher: War Zone. It is more like Lightning Jack with Paul Hogan.

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  2. Thanks! You just happened to throw a couple references at me I haven't actually seen, but from what I know of them I'm going to have to agree with you. They should've gone all out and instead they just...dipped their toes in the shallow end of the awesome pool.

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  3. This flick's main problem was it was too damn rushed. It's like they cut out half of the material, the material which actually builds some character development and relationships.

    One of last year's biggest disappointments, for me.

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  4. If I'd been hyped about this movie, I would've definitely been ridiculously disappointed with the outcome. And yeah, I was looking forward to it, but I was already wary of Megan Fox, so my expectations were at least slightly lowered. But I agree, it definitely rushed though the entire fucking movie. And I really don't know why. They could have taken their time and fleshed it out, but they didn't. It's like the directors aren't even trying anymore.

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