In his early career Timur Bekmambetov directed some wonderfully innovative films (Day Watch, Wanted), so I was hoping this movie’s famous chariot race would at least be cool. There were some high-energy moments and a few good crashes, but this scene (and the whole film) just felt lax. This epic follows the conflict of 2 half-brothers in the time of Jesus: one is a Jewish price and the other a Roman. With the exception of the big boat battle, there’s little dramatic tension. Ben-Hur’s more concerned about emotional engagement than conflict, so we get a heartfelt drama when we want spectacle. It doesn’t help that Jack Huston in the titular role lacks the charisma or presence to give it momentum.
(2 / 5)