Ben-Hur (2016)

  • Time: 123 min
  • Genre: Adventure | Drama
  • Director: Timur Bekmambetov
  • Cast: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman, Rodrigo Santoro


The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

One comment

  • (RATING: ☆☆½)


    Why make a remake? For artistic reason? For financial gain? For the restoration of a younger audience to experience? Who knows why the producers decided to re-do the classic religious epic. Ben Hur, one of the biggest blockbusters of all time! But they did, although not on the grand scale of William Wyler’s award-winning spectacle.

    Let’s face it, that 1959 film had its cast of thousands and a burly Charlton Heston available to hide some serious flaws in storytelling. But it also had pomp and more pomp, real crowds and many extras to impress moviegoers. It was cinema magic to its audiences of that era. This retread uses the typical CGI sleigh-of-hand that looks like typical CGI. It far from exciting filmmaking. This new reboot wants to tell its tale on a more intimate level and kinetically pushes the action with a more modern edginess that seems strangely awry.

    Yes, the famous chariot race is still there and that set piece is fairly well staged by director Timur Bekmambetov, but it simply is not as well choreographed and edited by the great Mr. Wyler to heighten the drama. The former film had style and passion. Its thrilling highs resonated. Here, they fall flat. In fact, everything pales and fails by comparison.

    In the title role, Jack Huston, a fine actor in other projects, never seems to grasp the gravitas of his character and seems woefully miscast. As his adopted brother Messala, Toby Kebbell offers no depth of character either. When Morgan Freeman finally appears as Shiek Ilderim, that notorious chariot businessman, it is a welcome relief. The conventional script by Keith Clarke and the usually capable John Ridley, is full of grand illusions. Its tacked-on uplifting ending makes the whole enterprise even more ludicrous and phony. Judah Ben Hur’s meet-cute religious get-togethers with you-know-who are so contrived and awkward, as is Rodrigo Santoro’s interpretation of the Christ figure.

    As Biblical epics go, Mr. Bekmambetov ‘s Ben Hur is in need a miracle itself. GRADE: C

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