Starring: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Not entirely sure why this particular story needed a remake, but with the burgeoning success of biblical and Christian films in America, there is perhaps a market for it. And if you don’t mind the kinds of historical inaccuracies that tend to make dumb action films kinda great, and if you like a bit of Jesus popping up and reminding everyone that they really should stop being awful to each other, this is the film for you.
Other than Morgan Freeman, who doesn’t get to play God this time round, most of the people in this film are “oh, he’s that guy from…” type actors, but they do ok. I mean, it’s not like you’re seeing this film for the story, right? You’re here for some biblical violence, revenge and destructive chariot racing! Well, if you are, this isn’t the film for you.
Retelling the story of Judah Ben-Hur, who was exiled by his adopted brother for crimes against Rome, the two men swear revenge, and find it on the chariot circus. Sworn enemies who were once brothers, pitted against each other in blah blah blah, the film has way too much talking, moralising and not enough death, violence and chariot racing. When you get to the battles on the water (Judah is a slave in a war galley) and the chariot race, it’s all rather fun, but for me personally, it takes too long to get there. There’s too much posturing, too much talk. But that said, I think there’s loads of you out there who will get a kick out of this, and I think you know who you are. (But give me Gladiator any day).
See It If: you like biblical epics, or if you want to see the chariot race, otherwise, skip it.