A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jonah Hex -- a disappointing action Western based on a comic book hero created in the early '70s -- is very violent. Hex acts mostly out of revenge (killing many without remorse), and the body count is high, though there's relatively little blood and gore. There are some spooky images connected to the movie's supernatural elements, plus many weapons and scenes of things burning and exploding. The female lead, a prostitute, is seen wearing skimpy lingerie throughout the movie (which may be enough to draw in some fans of actress Megan Fox...), and there's the suggestion of sex. Language is on the light side, and there's not much drinking.
What's the story?
Once a soldier in the Civil War, Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) finds his life turned around when a renegade general, Turnbull (John Malkovich), takes revenge and kills Hex's wife and son. Hex nearly dies, but comes back terribly scarred -- and with certain supernatural powers, a link between life and death. He becomes a bounty hunter and occasionally visits prostitute Lilah (Megan Fox). When Hex learns that Turnbull is still alive, he rides off to take his revenge -- and perhaps stop the dastardly general from completing and using a terrible new weapon powerful enough to destroy the entire country.
Is it any good?
The original Hex comics were moody and often thoughtful, with a touch of cynical humor -- and Jonah sometimes performed good deeds in spite of himself -- but the movie is dumb and violent. Hex acts out of nothing but revenge and is a one-dimensional villain determined to destroy the world for no good reason. Fox is added to the mix for extra box office appeal, but she has little to do, and her character borders on stereotypical.
Directed by Jimmy Hayward (who also did the wonderful Horton Hears a Who!), Jonah Hex is clumsy, choppy, and so poorly filmed that it's difficult to follow the action. The loud, heavy metal-esque music sometimes makes it difficult to hear the dialogue -- the dialogue that is audible is simplistic and annoying. The movie makes attempts to "update" the Western genre by adding modern fighting techniques and futuristic weapons, but these ideas just seem desperate. Ultimately, despite all the state-of-the-art weaponry, it's a total misfire.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is this kind of violence necessary to tell the story? How did it make you feel?
Is Lilah's character a stereotype? Why or why not? What does it say about her that she can take care of herself?
What distinguishes Hex from Turnbull? Both kill people; why is one a hero and one a villain?
- In theaters: June 18, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: October 12, 2010
- Cast: John Malkovich, Josh Brolin, Megan Fox
- Director: Jimmy Hayward
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Western
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content
For kids who love comic books and sci-fi
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.