Directed by Timur Bekmambetov and starring Jack Huston in the title role, this is a re-imagining of the novel by Lew Wallace but owes a lot to the Charlton Heston classic film from 1959..
A Jewish nobleman Judah Ben-Hur [Huston] and his adoptive Roman brother Messala [Toby Kebbell] are best friends despite being from different backgrounds.Despite all this Messala feels isolated and craves adventure with his Roman counterparts and sets off to help conquer the known world for Rome.Three years later Messala returns as a war hero and is put in charge of ridding his hometown of the Zealots who want to be free of Roman rule.One of those Zealots is injured and is tended to by Judah but whilst in his care tries to assassinate Pontius Pilate as he passes Judah’s family home bringing Messala into conflict between his family and his job.Judah takes responsibility for the actions of the Zealot and the family are split up and Judah made a criminal..
Banished to a life as a galley slave in the Roman fleet, Ben Hur vows revenge on his brother and seeks a way to avenge his family’s betrayal..
A film that promises so much yet delivers so little in two and a half hours is nothing to be proud of.A shambolic production that has only TWO action scenes in the entire film and a dialogue so tedious and given so badly that you get splinters from the wooden delivery.
It seemed to be that the entire budget and thought process was spent on the chariot race at the end that they forgot about putting a half-decent story to get to that point of the film.Some of it is so bad that you are yearning for one of those made-for-tv biblical series that True Entertainment channel have a fondness for.
The film is so tedious and meandering that the two and half hour length of the film feels twice as long and it features loads of wobbly close-up camera work that does nothing to enhance the films quality,especially when watching in 3D! The acting is so bad it’s painful to watch and Huston gives his Ben Hur the “Gerard Butler gravel voice mumble” treatment that makes most of his dialogue unintelligable.The ending [when it eventually arrives and you havent given up by then] is so ridiculous that you get the urge to actually start boo-ing at the screen.I’ve never been so happy to see the end credits appear..
I wish there was something nice to say about this film but the chariot race is not a patch on the 1959 film version and relies too much on SFX and is nothing new to the screen.Morgan Freeman’s dreadlocks almost steal the show and everything is delivered with as little enthusiasm as is possible on film.The fact it takes nearly a hour [or so it seemed] for any action to happen gives you an idea of the utter boredom one endured whilst watching this completely and utterly needless “re-telling” of a Hollywood classic.The cast have about as much depth in character as a leaky paddling pool..
I suspect this may do well at next years Razzies..
an absolute stinker of a movie that has all the best bits in the trailer and nothing to offer that’s new and entertaining to the viewing audience and leaves them bored from beginning to the end and yearning for the days of watching paint dry..
Just watch the 1959 version and thank me later..
Joxer Film Rating
[just for Morgan Freeman’s dreadlocks]