Review: Jonah Hex is Derailed & Disfigured by Awful Editing

June 19, 2010

Jonah Hex

Chopped up. Scarred. Disfigured until the original can no longer be identified. No, I'm not referring to the face of the character Jonah Hex. I'm referring to the movie Jonah Hex, the latest adaptation of a DC Comic. What may have started out as a decent western actioner complete with stylish scenes of explosive action and non-stop violence has most assuredly been whittled down to near nothing, a sad example of a film that borders on the unwatchable.

What we can gather from what's left of the film intact, the story follows Hex, played by Josh Brolin, a former confederate soldier who is severely scarred and forced to watch his family murdered by a terrorist named Turnbull, played by John Malkovich. After brushing death and brought back by the mystics of an Indian tribe, Hex is now a bounty hunter. Having seen death, Hex is able to converse with the dead, a gift that aids in his seeking out and capturing outlaws. With the aid of a prostitute, played by Megan Fox, Hex's latest bounty is the very man who made him who he is, the terrorist who is dead set on bringing anarchy to the known world.

Originally, Jonah Hex was to be written and directed by Neveldine and Taylor, the duo who brought us Crank and Gamer. Things didn't work out, and they walked away from the project after the script had been written. Naturally, Warner Bros went with Jimmy Hayward, the man whose previous, directing credit includes Horton Hears a Who! But, alas, that isn't where Jonah Hex falls apart. Neveldine and Taylor's script seems satisfactory enough, full of enough character moments and wall-to-wall action to service just about any level of action fan. Hayward's direction is stylish and slick. In fact, the production design by Tom Meyer is fairly stellar.

Unfortunately, what ultimately derails Jonah Hex is the editing, both within the confines of each scene and in the structure of the film as a whole. Four people served as editor on Jonah Hex, and I won't bother to name them simply because there is no telling at this time who is responsible for what. Let's just say, as a whole, the editing is the biggest problem this film has, and it is so unavoidable it completely ruins anything the film may have had going for it in the first place. There is so much back and forth editing within each action scene, it becomes extremely difficult to tell who is who or what is being done to just about anyone. Explosions happen. We don't know why. People fly back as if being shot. No one has a gun. These are all jarring moments that quickly take you out of any story that may have gripped you to begin with.

In the broader scope of the film, the editing is much, MUCH worse. Hex is brisked from set piece to set piece with very little instigation and even less establishment. We rarely know where he is or why he's even there to begin with. Some scenes even seem to be edited together, as if a patch-work of two scenes into one might help move the film along a bit. It doesn't, and only adds to the confusing mess we already have to deal with. Certain characters and the actors who play them fall victim to this lack of cohesive editing, most notably Michael Shannon who plays a barker at a boxing match. Literally do not blink or you will miss his two seconds of dialogue-less screen time.

The rest of the cast varies in degrees of serviceability. Brolin seems the perfect choice as Hex, and he plays the part with everything he's got. Malkovich can play this type of villain in his sleep, and he appears to be doing just that here. Fox is horrid, only there for window dressing and as a possible distraction from the fact that her character does absolutely nothing. Michael Fassbender as one of Malkovich's henchman very nearly steals every scene he is in, and it pains you to think of a better film he and Brolin's Hex could have been put into to give their violent relationship more weight.

And, ultimately, this is the very thing the editing in Jonah Hex pulls out of the film. At 85 minutes (75 minus the credits), there is an absolute lack of weight to the film. You see the action going on, you witness the violence and the explosions hitting the screen from right and left, but you don't care. If any film has suffered more from its post-production than Jonah Hex, I don't believe I have seen it. This film is so unrecognizable from what it may have once been, in fact, that it is impossible to review it based on anything but the horrendous patch job that occurred after it was shot.

Perhaps there will be a Director's Cut that puts back in all the character developments, all the natural transitions between scenes, and all the meaning of what we are witnessing. As it is, though, we get none of that, and Jonah Hex is left more disfigured and unidentifiable than its lead character.

Jeremy's Rating: 3 out of 10

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How was Fox?

Xerxex on Jun 19, 2010


Wow. Just wow. I had already dismissed this film as I'm sure most have, but I had no idea it was this bad. If there is a directors cut, I'll be ready to view this. I'm definitely steering clear, no matter the fact that Fassbender and Brolin are in it. I really hate when somebody with some position of authority starts making artistic decisions. However, even the director's cut may be complete drivel and some sad exec was trying to salvage something from nothing. Let's wait and see.

Linkfx on Jun 19, 2010


is there any sex scenes in this movie, because im planning on taking my kids to see it and i dont want them to see any of that stuff???

bo bo on Jun 19, 2010


sure bo bo or do u just want to see the sex scenes lol

ish on Jun 19, 2010


I wonder if the problem was more that the director undershot the film than the editing per se...

gamus on Jun 20, 2010


#5, yea might just have been the directors fault and not the editors. You cant really edit a good movie if you dont have scenes to work with. There could be so many different reasons why it was put together like that, but to be honest i was so sure that the maker of Horton Hears a Who cannot make a decent film... Brolin is just a great actor and ive wished him good roles, too bad this didnt work out at all. Will probably see it when it comes out on DVD. HOPEFULLY they wont get this to the theaters in Finland..

coswell on Jun 20, 2010


#3 but crime, violent and dead is ok for your kids to see but no sex? erm yeah god bless america lol...

Ace on Jun 20, 2010


Maybe quit being a jackass and actually give the man an answer.

Angry Chief on Jun 20, 2010


I wonder if any of these same editors worked on Quantum of Solace.

Craig on Jun 20, 2010


With Megan Fox on the cover I'm sure DVD sales will make a profit.

Cream of Sumyunguy on Jun 20, 2010


#7 i know wot u mean but i can explain to my kids that the violence is not real, but explaining sex scenes is a bit to much at there age

bo bo on Jun 20, 2010


#3, #11 LOL... Riight because that makes so much sense... Like I am sure they do not have friends who are exposing it to them anyways. Unless they are like 5 of course.

LifeLiquid on Jun 20, 2010


would someone just answer the man and stop trying to raise his kids!! Sorry bobo i haven't seen it yet,

TheLOLrapist on Jun 20, 2010


I enjoy looking at Megan Fox, but I certainly don't enjoy listening to Megan Fox. I'll wait for the DVD (maybe).

DLM Entertainment on Jun 20, 2010


@3 & 11 -- Yeah, there's a flash of a big cock about halfway through the movie. It's subliminal, but you might want to think of the children.

casting couch on Jun 21, 2010


Bo Bo - you can get pretty detailed info here:

Pete on Jun 21, 2010


#16 Thanks Pete, atleast there is some good people out there who dont act like a dick when there just asked a simple question. Thanks again Pete, the info helped.

tom on Jun 22, 2010


with megan fox in it of course its lousy....she can not act period. you can only get so far on looks.

minimom on Jun 28, 2010


Had a lot of potential. Oscar caliber actors. A huge cast of other actors (and Megan Fox) Cool story lines to work from the series. The director had a cool style. Jacked all to hell in less than an hour and a half. All I can say is, wait for a free rental from Redbox or something. I'm sure it will be out quickly on DVD.

allison on Jul 5, 2010


oh, and XERXEX, It is Megan Fox-you really have to ask that question? ANSWER:She was terrible. And she is never naked. (seems like that is all the poor girl has going for herself) Just sayin...

allison on Jul 5, 2010

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