Empire (UK) - - ON SCREEN - JP

OUT now / CERT 12a / 123 mins Direc­tor Timur Bek­mam­be­tov Cast Jack Hus­ton, Toby Kebbell, Ro­drigo San­toro, Mor­gan Free­man, Nazanin Bo­niadi, Ayelet Zurer, Pilou As­baek

IT AL­MOST CER­TAINLY doesn’t need say­ing, but just in case — this lat­est screen ver­sion of Ben-hur (the sixth) will not be win­ning 11 Os­cars. Ju­dah (Hus­ton) is one of the Jerusalem Ben-hurs, a wealthy fam­ily liv­ing in the Ro­man-oc­cu­pied city. life is good un­til he’s ar­rested by his adopted brother Mes­sala (Kebbell) and sen­tenced to a life of slav­ery, kick-start­ing a quest for re­venge. It’s an of­ten bland retelling, but if the big char­iot race flies, much can be for­given. Sadly it’s patchy — high on spec­ta­cle but low on drama, with Ju­dah and Mes­sala kept apart for the ma­jor­ity of its run­time. Ul­ti­mately, it means the 2016 Ben-hur only stag­gers, bruised and blood­ied, across the fin­ish line.

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