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Film / Jonah Hex (2010)

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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 Ulysses S. 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.

Tropes featured in Jonah Hex include:

  • 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.
    • Same goes for Hex himself, albeit to a lesser degree: while he does have his famous scar, it only covers the lower side of his face, leaving his eye intact. Even then, in the comics the scar was more hideous as it exposed Hex's teeth for everyone to see, wherein here, it's portrayed as bit of scarred flesh on his cheek..
  • Animate Dead: Hex's special ability.
  • And This Is for...: when Jonah finishes off Turnbull's Irish Dragon. TWICE.
  • The Armorer: Smith, who behind the walls of his D.C. general store keeps a collection of very esoteric weaponry.
  • Ax-Crazy: Burke, contrasting his boss Turnbull who is closer to The Stoic, often whistles, smiles and cackles like a maniac when tormenting other people.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: A very literal example of each. The Stunk Crick Sheriff and his deputies try to double-cross Hex and kill him for his own bounty. Hex kills them all, then pins the Sheriff's badge on the mouth-breather standing closest to him, congratulating him on his new position.
  • Big Bad: Quentin Turnbull. He is responsible for Hex's tragic backstory and for inciting the plot of the movie, planning to launch a full-scale terror war on the USA.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Hex's rejoinder to the Dumbass Outlaw who asks what happened to his face (after shooting the Outlaw dead).
  • Dastardly Dapper Derby: Burke wears a bowler hat as part of his attire and is the most overtly evil character in the film.
  • 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.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Hex rides into Stunk Crick towing the bodies of three of the Clayton Boys. The Mayor tries to weasel out of paying the bounty by saying it was offered for four Claytons, and Hex tosses him a sack. The Mayor looks inside, and retches.
    Hex Rest of him was too fat for my horse.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: Burke acts as Turnbull's second-in-command.
  • The Dreaded: As soon as the Stunk Crick Mayor and Sheriff say Hex's name, every other person in town runs inside and slams their doors. Yep, it's safe to say they've heard of him.
  • 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.
  • Fighting Irish: A dark example with Burke, who is an Irishman and a skilled fighter with a sadistic passion for torturing and murdering people.
  • 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.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Stunk Crick's mayor wears a suit, a top hat, and a watch chain in an attempt to look like something other than a clueless hick, but trips over any word longer than two syllables:
    Mayor: I don't see my way that we could possibly recompense you the agreed-upon... recomseption.
  • 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.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Jonah resurrects Jeb Turnbull:
    Jeb: I've been watching you, and I've been watching him, and I gotta tell you, it's getting real hard to tell the difference between you.
    Jonah: Your father is a monster, you hear me?
    Jeb: And you ain't? From where I sit, you're just two men bent on murdering people to make your own pain go away. Life like that, it sounds a hell of a lot like being damned.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Lilah.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Stunk Crick Mayor's face when Hex unsheathes his horse-mounted Gatling Guns.
  • 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.
  • Only One Name: The psychopathic dragon is only known as "Burke".
  • Paying for the Action Scene: After blasting the Dumbass Outlaw through a window, Hex drops a coin on the bar as payment for the damage.
  • 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.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Lilah's obsessed client, Graydon Nash, who tries to get her to leave the brothel and be his exclusively, and then buys her contract from her pimp.
  • 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The character credited, appropriately, as "Dumbass Outlaw" decides to show off his toughness by drawing a knife and advancing on Jonah, who casually blasts him through a window and into the next world.
    Dumbass Outlaw: Hey, Hex! What happened to your face-?
    Jonah Hex: Cut myself shaving, what happened to yours?
  • 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.
  • Whole Costume Reference: although it could be a coincidence, as such outfits are pretty common, in some scenes, Burke's three-piece suit looks similar to that of The Joker from The Dark Knight.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Jonah Hex