I like steampunk. I like Weird West. I like comic book adaptations. I like movies that bust out of the usual genre cliches.
But it's not an unconditional love -- the loathing I have for "Jonah Hex" proves it. This movie is a bit like the evil love child of "Wild Wild West" and "Van Helsing," with all the bloodcurdling stupidity of the former and the flashy steampunky trappings of the latter. Josh Brolin does his best to salvage this messy undercooked stew of cliches, but honestly... there's no saving this movie.
Jonah Hex (Brolin) was a Confederate soldier who turned against his commander Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), and Turnbull got his revenge by killing Hex's family, scarring his face and leaving him for dead on a cross. Of course he doesn't die, but becomes a bounty hunter who can communicate with the dead just by touching them. All this is crammed in the first three minutes.
Then the president recruits him to hunt down Turnbull, who is building "the weapon" that could destroy the entire United States. So he meanders off and brawls with some people, gets some crossbow-guns (what?), and rushes to rescue his favorite hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold (is there any other kind in movies?).
I wish I could give a better summary of the plot in "Jonah Hex," but that's kind of like examining the acting talent displayed by Megan Fox -- it's so minimal that you'll just sprain your brain if you try to actually talk about it. Jonah is traumatized, he shoots people, he gets drafted, he shoots people, he goes searching for Turnbull, he shoots people, and so on and so forth.
Basically there's not much plot here, so the writers pad it with as many fiery explosions, gunfights and hallucinatory flashbacks as they possibly can. The dialogue is leaden ("Ain't mah country. Git lost or git dead"), and all the dramatic twists are painfully predictable. As for "the weapon," it is quite possibly the silliest superweapon I have EVER seen in a movie, short of a giant slingshot. THIS is supposed to be able to bring down a budding superpower?
I'll give Brolin credit, he does what he can, and he slurs and grinds around his fake facial deformity with convincing grittiness. The problem is, his character's backstory is so hastily slapped together that it's hard to care -- I mean, it's sad that his family died, but we barely even SAW them and don't see much of how he felt. Megan Fox is all flat drawling and vacuous stares, but fortunately she only has a few scenes. During the more dramatic moments you can almost see smoke coming out of her ears.
"Jonah Hex" is all wasted potential -- it has pretty much no plot, not much decent acting, and an ending worthy of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Give it a pass.