Ben-Hur [2016] ★½

 ben-hur-posterSomebody owes me a goddamn explanation: how do you remake William Wyler’s 1959 epic “Ben-Hur” starring Charlton Heston in his Oscar winning performance without screwing it all up? The answer is: you don’t. This new version, directed by Timur Bekmanbetov and starring Jack Huston (Heston, Huston. Get it?) in the title character feels rushed, truncated and curiously dull. It’s got no kick to it. If you’ve never seen the silent version or the 1959 film, I would tell you to stop reading and start watching. Bekmanbetov throws everything on screen, from lousy CGI to a climactic chariot race. Sadly, nothing sticks or feels alive. The thrills that rocked the old film are reduced to cheap sentiments here. There’s no grandeur. No emotions. No drama. Charlton Heston’s Ben-Hur shocked us into feeling what he felt. This new one just lies there like a dead fish.

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