Who's In It: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Michael Fassbender, Julia Jones, Will Arnett, Wes Bentley, Michael Shannon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
The Basics: Take the lone gunslinger from every anti-hero Western ever made and give him a fleshy Swiss cheese flap where one cheek used to be (Josh Brolin). Borrow liberally from Brisco County, Jr. -- namely, the fantasy-supernatural Western setting and a crazy-haired villain who'll kill for a set of magical glowing balls (played here by John Malkovich). Add Megan Fox as a prostitute in a corset, just because. Finish it off with dash of Pushing Daisies magic that allows your hero to conveniently see dead people. Mix it all in a blender, get rid of the makers of Crank even though they wrote it, let the guy who made Horton Hears a Who direct, and voila! You've got Jonah Hex. Congratulations, you’ve concocted the biggest misfire of the summer.
What's The Deal: I feel sorry for everyone involved with Jonah Hex. Firstly there's the cast stuck in this silly period comic book movie -- even the ones required only to play unsettling cartoon versions of themselves (Malkovich), talk miserably through speech-impeding prosthetics (Brolin), or shoot pistols while maintaining optimal period cleavage, in the grand tradition of feisty, old-timey, one-dimensional prostitutes (Megan Fox). Secondly, I feel for director Jimmy Hayward, whose sophomore directing turn will go down as the most chopped up, stitched together Frankenstein job in recent memory. But most of all, I feel sorry for myself for having to sit through the entirety of this schizophrenic shoot 'em up mess of a movie -- it's technically only 75 minutes long, but felt three times longer.
How Stupid Is It? Whenever Jonah's in a bind, he just touches the nearest dead body or dearly departed BFF for the lowdown on where his enemies are, since ghostly spirits have nothing better to do than to keep tabs on the living. (Hex's powers also allow him to torture dead people and have fistfights with ghosts that nobody else in the living world notices.) Malkovich wants to blow up Washington with his magic balls of death. Hex hallucinates a fight-within-a-fight and explains it as it's happening. Metal riffs play as Hex explodes dozens of bad guys with a firecracker gun, but when he runs out of sparkly firecracker bullets the bad guys are able to turn the tables on him.
The High Points, Which Can Be Counted On One Hand: Every time Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, 300, Fish Tank) came onscreen as Burke, Malkovich's sadistic, knife-wielding Irish henchman. What's an Irishman doing with tribal neck tattoos, you ask? No idea, and the movie never bothers to explain it. Whenever Fassbender showed up channeling A Clockwork Orange, with that lilting brogue and a naughty gleam in his eye, I secretly hoped that he'd put poor Brolin out of his misery and liberate Megan Fox's organs from the tyranny of her corset.
Just How Small Is Megan Fox's Waist? Real small to begin with, but when it's laced up in a corset it's EIGHTEEN INCHES small. Either she's got fewer organs than the average woman or she was born with Barbie's DNA. I'm not judging. But it's incredibly distracting to see that itty bitty waist and wonder if she misses the taste of food or having all of her ribs intact and what sort of exercise regimen she adheres to while you're supposed to be paying attention to the knife fights and shoot-outs and huge explosions going on around her.
Who's Hoping For More Screen Time On The DVD: Wes Bentley, who's not doing his career any favors with the worst Southern accent of all time. Julia Jones, who makes more of an impact as a werewolf in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse than she does here as Jonah Hex's ill-fated wife. Michael Shannon, unrecognizable under heavy facial hair, whose UFC-like arena fighting ringleader was supposed to get way more than just one first-act throwaway scene. You feel for basically the entire cast, all of whom seem to be screaming silently through the screen, "This isn't what I signed up for!"