Summer Blockbuster Preview: Jonah Hex

The summer blockbuster that's been having the most trouble, we take a look ahead to Josh Brolin and Megan Fox in Jonah Hex...

What Is It?

Quite possibly the most troubled production of the summer, truth be told. It’s based on the DC comic series of the same name, and tells the story of the title character, a disfigured bounty hunter who is made one of those offers he can’t refuse. Set in the old west, the film then follows Jonah as he tries to earn his freedom by hunting down Quentin Turnbull. Along the way, he’s aided by Leila, a woman who’s lived her life in a brothel, too.

Naturally things don’t go too smoothly, with Turnbull ready to meet the challenge of Jonah head on. And from that point onwards, expect action, carnage and an attempt to justify a sequel.

It’s worth noting that Jonah Hex, post-Watchmen, is one of the very few remaining comic book movies that’s not aimed at the PG-13 market, with an R rating instead the target. It’s also arguably the lowest profile blockbuster of the summer…

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Who’s Behind It?

It’s been a long time coming, but Josh Brolin finally gets to step centre-stage in a big summer blockbuster movie. The actor takes on the role of Jonah Hex, and he’s been at the heart of the limited publicity we’ve seen for the film thus far.

Joining him is Megan Fox, whose own attempts to headline a major movie on her own – Jennifer’s Body – failed to ignite the box office. She plays Leila here, and unsurprisingly, the early ‘leaked’ set pictures tended to centre on her.

On baddie duties? That’ll be John Malkovich, who here gives us a chance to see what we missed out on when the planned Spider-Man 4 collapsed, taking his planned role as The Vulture with it. Michael Fassbender will be playing Malkovich’s sidekick.

Directing is Jimmy Hayward, who previously co-helmed the terrific Horton Hears A Who!, and worked on several Pixar projects. This will be his live-action debut.

Why Should I Watch It?

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Hmmm. If you believe the early reports, that’s not a very easy question to answer.

Given that most blockbuster movies started their promotional campaign many months ago, it’s telling perhaps that just a month or so before its US roll-out we got the first proper trailer for the film. That’s added fuel to rumours that Jonah Hex is a film in trouble.

It’s certainly one that’s already had a fair few reshoots, although that alone is not enough to set alarm bells blaring. What has, though, is the early screening reports that appeared first of all at AintItCoolNews. They were fairly unanimous that Jonah Hex isn’t shaping up well. Particularly in the crosshairs of the criticism has been Malkovich’s performance, although reports of an 80 minute running time are quite troubling, too.

On the plus side, there’s the Josh Brolin factor. Here most of the early commenters seem to agree that the casting department has chosen wisely. While the make-up doesn’t seem to do him too many favours, Brolin is a terrific actor, and right from the start he’s seemed like an ideal fit for the lead role. Megan Fox? She’s back on supporting duties in a blockbuster, and that may be where her big budget movie career lies.

Truthfully, though, much though we want to love Jonah Hex – and indeed, some Den Of Geek writers suggest that this may yet turn out to be something of a hoot (we’re looking at you, Duncan…) – things aren’t looking too pretty. What might help, though, is the lowering of expectations a little. After all, few are suggesting now that Jonah Hex is likely to be a massive blockbuster hit, and perhaps more than any film this season, all the emphasis is going to be on getting a sizeable opening weekend.

What Jonah Hex is likely to mark is the final passing, for the time being at least, of the R-rated comic book movie, and we’re hoping that Hex can at least overcome the criticisms that are heading its way, and deliver the best part of an entertaining hour and a half at the movies.

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With no UK release date in site yet, though, and with limited publicity today, it’s hard not to be a little fearful…

US release date: June 18thUK release date: Unconfirmed