The weird west is a genre that has instilled much appreciation in me, the combination of the barren wastes with creepy unexplained goings-on. With a small handful of pop-culture elements flying the banner for the genre, it hardly has the recognition as other cult genres. So when, in 2010, D.C. comics allowed their disfigured gunslinger to grace the silver screen, they were taking a leap of faith. A leap that could only be taken by the supernatural bounty hunter, Jonah Hex.
When a Confederate war veteran’s, Jonah Hex, act of defiance causes the death of his best friend, the deceased soldier’s father, Turnball, takes revenge. Killing that Jonah’s wife and child and branding his face with a cattle iron. He is saved by some Native Americans, who give him mystical powers. He spends his days trying to exact revenge on Turnball, only to find out he died in a hotel fire. But when a new super-weapon slaughters a train full of innocent bystanders. The President fears Turnball isn’t dead and all and offers Hex a chance at redemption, moreover, revenge.
Despite its gritty setting and story, Jonah Hex is far from morose, instead, it is a popcorn-guzzling adventure fuelled with gunslinging, Confederates, unnatural superpowers and super-weapons. It understands fully what it wants to be, a cinematic comic-book adaptation and runs with it. Like fellow weird west tale, Cowboys and Aliens, it balances fun and seriousness for maximum enjoyment.
Jonah Hex takes full advantage of its comic book origins by filling the screen with strong visuals. Creative choices such as editing certain scenes with a higher contrast, help bump up the bizarre feel of the world. It even provides a really well crafted animated sequence, that unfortunately, the film does not repeat, all these touches help to pay homage to the beloved comic book origins of this character, and do things a traditional movie property might not attempt. The soundtrack liberally uses heavy metal concertos, which gives Jonah Hex the feeling of being an extended heavy metal opera. The two surprisingly support themselves rather well, with the tale of revenge propagated by the ghoulish realities of the world of Jonah Hex.
D.C. Comics haven’t had the best of luck in catapulting their properties onto the big screen, but with Jonah Hex, they’ve shown that an inventive use of colour, music, and, let’s not forget, story can make a tale filled to the brim with Cowboys and Outlaws inventive. Jonah Hex is a weird and wonderful flick if you want to waste away 80 minutes with a wild west story with a touch of weird, Jonah is your go-to guy.
If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!