I have to be honest and admit I put this at the top of my queue precisely because I read the terrible reviews. I've watched a number of terrible superhero movies and this rates in that awful category with such films as "Ghost Rider" and "The Spirit." Though I wouldn't say this was quite as bad, it's a far cry from "The Dark Knight" or "Iron Man."
What's especially telling is that when you factor out credits, the movie is only 70 minutes long. Consider ones like "The Dark Knight" or "Superman Returns" were 150 minutes or more, and you get the sense that there were some real problems with this movie. I mean, other than kids movies, who makes an action movie that short? I would be really curious to see just how much was left on the cutting room floor. If this was what they left in, then what they cut out must have been really awful.
Anyway, this follows the pretty standard formula. Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is put of the Confederate Army but turns in his unit led by the sadistic General Turnbull (John Malkovich) to the Union Army when he can no longer handle the savagery. Turnbull escapes and with the help of an evil Irishman, captures Hex and his family and burns Hex's wife and kid alive. He also brands Hex's face with his initials but lets Hex live. Later Hex decides that he'll get rid of the mark by putting a very hot axe blade to his face, thus burning his face even worse.
There's something about him nearly dying but being revived by Native Americans, which is rendered in cartoon for some reason. This then gives Hex the ability to touch dead people and temporarily bring them back to life. He goes out then to the Old West and works as a bounty hunter.
It's 1876 when Hex finds out that Turnbull is alive and so goes in search of him. Taking a page from the equally bad "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" Turnbull is making some kind of battleship that shoots explosives ignited by weird glowing orbs that was all designed by Eli Whitney as a "nation killer" except the Army decided it didn't need a Death Star but let the plans fall into Turnbull's hands.
Helping Hex along the way are a black weapons merchant who designs a sort of rocket launcher with a crossbow that shoots dynamite. There's also the prostitute Lila (Megan Fox, who again teases males everywhere by remaining fully clothed) who periodically gives Hex a freebie and serves as his Mary Jane Watson in the plot. (If you watched the "Spider-Man" movies you know what I mean.)
I'm sure you have no idea how it works out.
Anyway, as I said the movie was so short that it's pretty much over before it begins. Probably just as well since what there is of it is pretty paint-by-numbers with pathetic dialog, notably in the scene where a chubby Aidan Quinn as President US Grant tells his troops they need to find Hex.
I found the black weapons guy to be kind of insulting. It's like the filmmakers were trying to say, "Well, Hex was a part of the Confederacy but he's not racist! Look, he has a black friend!" That may be something taken from the comics, but still. What's also weird is that the Native Americans never seem to get any airtime when they bring Hex back to life. That seems like something that was probably left on the cutting room floor. There are also some weird cutaway scenes with Hex fighting Turnbull in a plain of red clay. Not sure what the point of that was.
This might not have been as bad as I expected, but it was pretty bad nonetheless.
That is all.
My score: 35/100 (1.5 stars)
Metacritic score: 33/100 (1.5 stars)