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Film / Jonah Hex

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Jonah Hex is a 2010 post-Civil War anti-hero Western film loosely based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is directed by Jimmy Hayward and stars Josh Brolin as the title character, Jonah Hex, and also stars John Malkovich, Michael Fassbender, and Megan Fox. The film was released on June 18, 2010.

During Grant's presidency, Jonah Hex is a remorseless Bounty Hunter. In the American Civil War he was a rebel whose honor put him afoul of a confederate general, Turnbull, who murdered Jonah's family while Jonah watched. As a result of the ordeal, Jonah's face is disfigured and he can talk with the dead. After staging his own death, Turnbull, with a group of rebel stalwarts, hatches a plan to bring the Union to its knees. Grant wants Hex to stop it. While the nation readies to celebrate Independence Day, Hex and an unlikely ally have little time to stop Turnbull and his weapon of mass destruction.


The original draft of the film was penned by the creators of Crank. It was cut down from its original running time to just over 70 minutes (to make it more action-oriented, or so the rumors say), and went over like a lead balloon.

The movie contains the following tropes:

  • Action Girl/Dark Action Girl: Lilah.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the comics Lilah/Tallulah Black is so hideously scarred that Hex is the only man who can stand to bed her. In The Movie, she's played by Megan Fox.
  • Animate Dead: Hex's special ability.
  • And This Is for...: when Jonah finishes off Turnbull's Irish Dragon. TWICE.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Hex aims his gun at a man rushing towards him, but he's only interested in stealing the boots of the mook Hex just shot. Then someone else fires at Hex and kills the thief instead.
    • Someone proves Too Dumb to Live when he tries taunting Jonah about his face only to be Killed Mid-Sentence. Jonah gives the appropriate Bond One-Liner, but later admits he's run out of wiseass responses for that taunt.
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  • Blown Out the Window
  • BFG: To the point of being a Weapon of Mass Destruction. It's a rotary bombard cannon whose cannonballs are subsequently detonated by an Energy Ball containing unknown Phlebotinum. Designed by Eli Whitney Jr., no less. Turnbull tests it on an unsuspecting town.
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Came Back Wrong: Jonah's ressurection meant he can now talk to the dead, and though he's not immortal he's very difficult to kill.
  • Captain Ersatz: "Snake-Man" from the arena fights is a subscale Uber-Immortal.
  • Crusading Widower
  • Dead Person Conversation: A Crow medicine man resurrected Jonah when he was Only Mostly Dead, giving him the ability to talk to the dead if he can make physical contact with their corpse. Turns out the dead continue to see what the people they were connected with in life are doing, even after they died. However they burn up if Jonah does this for too long (though pouring soil on their head slows the process).
  • Deader than Dead: Jonah shoves Burke's head into a propeller in revenge for killing Jonah's wife, then brings him back to life just to obliterate his body in revenge for killing Jonah's son.
  • Death of a Child: Burke has Jonah Hex's house burnt down with his wife and son inside.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Ex-Confederate Quentin Turnbull and his (mostly Southern) men hijack trains while wearing ghostly hoods.
    • During the train hijacking, two of the hijackers are wearing explosives strapped to their vests like suicide bombers. Turnbull himself is described as La Terrorista, deliberately targets civilians to destablise the government, and his Evil Plan involves a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Turnbull is testing his rotary bombard cannon on an innocous town. The weapon fires a salvo of cannon balls, but they all land harmlessly in the middle of the street. When the townspeople emerge from their homes to gawk at the smouldering cannonballs, he then fires the detonator shell which explodes all the others and obliterates the town.
  • Fate Worse than Death: At the end of their Dead Person Conversation, Jeb warns Jonah to stay alive as long as possible, as the dead have something nasty planned for him when he dies.
  • Gatling Good:
    • Jonah uses a small, man-portable gatling gun at several points during the movie. Check out the poster.
    • The Secret Weapon is fired by a rotary bombard cannon.
  • Historical Beauty Update: No saloon girl in the 1870s could have looked that fashionable. Not even Megan Fox herself would have looked like that.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Lilah.
  • In Name Only: The film bears very little resemblance to the comic book, save for the scarred protagonist. The filmmakers added an inexplicable super power to temporarily resurrect the dead, which served no purpose, as he just uses this ability to pump the dead for information, something the hardcore western Hex of the comic would have accomplished simply by shooting the living in the kneecap.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Guns Akimbo crossbows that shoot sticks of dynamite! Horse-mounted gatling guns!
  • Irish Explosives Expert: Burke is a rather psychotic Irish mercenary with a fondness for explosives, though he also likes to kill up and close with his Bowie knife.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Lilah keeps a Colt Theur Derringer in her room for protection. She pulls it to get rid of her obsessed client, Grayden Nash, who later sneaks it from its hiding place and fires it at her. Missing once, he puts it to her head and fires again, but she informs him that it is a single-shot weapon.
  • Kick the Dog: Turnbull's entire Establishing Character Moment is this, from descriptions of how he wiped out hospitals and schools during his part in the Confederate Army, to tracking down Jonah's family after he turned against him and forced Jonah to watch as his wife and son are burnt to death before branding Jonah with a disfiguring scar and leaving him to die.
  • Large Ham: Burke
  • Magical Native American: Used to handwave where Hex got his ability to have a Dead Person Conversation; a Crow medicine man brought him Back from the Dead after Turnbull left him to die. After catching a chestful of shotgun pellets from Burke, his horse carries him back to the Crow village so he can be ressurected again.
  • Mark of Shame: Hex is branded on the face with a QT by Quentin Turnbull for betraying him. A flashback shows he uses a red-hot tomahawk blade (as per the comic) to obliterate the mark at the cost of his Facial Horror.
  • Meaningful Name: The guy who supplies all of Hex's firearms is called Smith.
  • Monumental Damage: Narrowly averted. A cannonball from the Nation Killer clips the side of the still-under-construction Washington Monument.
  • Mugging the Monster / Berserk Button: Do not ask Jonah how he got his scar.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: If terrorist Quentin Turnbull hadn't already been Jonah's mortal enemy, Jonah would probably not have been willing to be pressed into service by the U.S. government to stop him. At the end of the movie he accepts a pardon from President Grant, but turns down an offer of a job, though he does say he'll be available if Grant needs him.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Lilah.
  • The Only One: Played entirely straight. After Quentin Turnbull steals a Secret Weapon, Army Lieutenant Grass assures President Ulysses S. Grant that his elite military unit is ready to handle it. So Grant assigns him...the task of finding Jonah Hex. Grass isn't happy but obeys orders. Later Hex telegraphs Grass with Turnbull's Evil Plan and Grass is waiting to intercept Turnbull with an ironclad cutter, which is promptly blown out of the water by Turnbull leaving only Jonah (who's held prisoner on Turnbull's ship at the time) to save the day. Though a conversation Grant has with his advisors does justify the trope—given Turnbull's willingness to attack civilian targets he could strike anywhere, so the US military (which was drastically reduced in size and resources from the force Grant commanded during the Civil War) is spread thin trying to cover all potential targets. Jonah can afford to chase after Turnbull but there's nothing to stop Turnbull from changing his plan and striking elsewhere.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Prog Metal band Mastodon composed the score.
  • Prematurely Marked Grave: Jonah turns up with the corpses of the four men he'd been sent after, but notices that there are five newly-made coffins waiting. Turns out the sheriff and his deputies would rather claim the bounty on Jonah than pay him. One of the would-be ambushers is actually hiding inside a coffin—needless to say Jonah puts him right back in there.
    Jonah: Five coffins. (beat) Sure you don't need eight?
  • Progressively Prettier: We're supposed to believe that people find Jonah ugly, but he's good-looking enough to bed Lilah, the town prostitute (free of charge, that is.) Whereas in the comics, he practically looks like "The Cryptkeeper." In all fairness, the scar IS disfiguring and quite disgusting to look at. The problem is, Hex is played by Josh Brolin. Also in fairness, it's pretty clear that their relationship was NEVER based on looks (one thing from the comics that they got right).
  • Protagonist Title
  • The Remnant: Turnbull and his men, who aim to destablize the US government with acts of mass terror.
  • The Reveal: Lilah IS Tallulah Black.
  • "Say My Name" Trailer: At least one trailer does this (though it "only" uses about three or four repetitions).
  • Sinister Whistling: In his introductory scene Burke is shown happily whistling "Johnny Comes Marching Home" to himself whilst he sets up the explosives to blow up the train.
  • Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: Jonah can pull a type III, but hold off the rotting a bit by rubbing earth on them. "Dead loves dirt." Undeath Always Ends as the corpses appear to be burning rather than rotting in the usual sense.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Lilah meets one in a stagecoach in a deleted scene.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Jonah does it to the Union officers while they try talking to the body he's just finished interrogating.
  • Token Good Teammate: The deceased Jeb Turnbull was implied to have been this. He only obeyed his father out of loyalty and was Jonah's best friend until the moment Jonah killed him. While understandably angry about the latter, he provides Jonah with his father's location, saying they both have a right to finish their vendetta.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Lilah keeps a knife in her bustier, but it was taken when she was "thoroughly searched."
  • Weird West: Though instead of Jonah encountering the supernatural as in the comics, we have Jonah given supernatural powers to talk to the dead.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • The corrupt lawmen try to pull this on Hex to avoid paying him the bounty, as well as to get the bounty on his head.
    • Quentin Turnbull does this to Adleman Lusk. Lusk says that he will hang if Turnbull's scheme fails and Turnbull promises him that he will not hang as he shoots him in the back of the head.