Kim Huat visits Wellington, New Zealand and the WETA folks, to find out how Alita: Battle Angel was made.
YouTube link: youtu.be/YOtKD-8F8M8
Kim Huat visits Wellington, New Zealand and the WETA folks, to find out how Alita: Battle Angel was made.
YouTube link: youtu.be/YOtKD-8F8M8
FINALLY, a great DCEU movie. I loved Wonder Woman but Aquaman was even better than that movie. It just rocked from start to finish, like a big, wet, roller coaster ride.
It’s like Furious 7 director James Wan threw every ridiculous idea at it, but somehow it worked. Even the drum-playing octopus and the oversized, angry, war seahorses.
People clapped at the end of the movie. That’s how epic it felt. Most importantly, it was fun.
You can see some of the familiar tropes in it.
It’s a Shakespearean/Black Panther movie. It’s a treasure hunt movie. It’s a chase movie. It’s a love story movie. It’s a revenge movie. Its a monster movie. It’s a Lord of the Rings, Battle at Helm’s Deep (deep, geddit?) movie.
Simisai also in there. It’s like James Wan decided, heck, there may not be another Aquaman movie so let’s go to town with this.
And it went to town indeed. There are moments when you think, that is so stupid but that is also so cool. And then you laugh at the sheer audacity of it.
if I have one complaint, it was the scenes where Nicole Kidman was CGI-ed to look younger, as young Queen Atlanna. It was creepy to see touched up De-Aged Kidman. It was as obvious and poorly done as Superman’s mustache in Justice League.
The best part is, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t watch any of the previous DCU movies, or you are trying to forget them. There was like, ONE reference to Steppenwolf and then we got sucked into Aquaman’s story.
Like a Fast and Furious movie, don’t overthink it. Just go along for the ride.
It’s a little long, at 2 hours and 22 minutes, so make sure you pee before going in. Or all that ocean water CGI will make you wanna pee.
You know, I actually enjoyed Escape Plan 1. It wasn’t a work of art but for a brainless two hours, it was okay. At least it had the novelty of Stallone and Arnie in it.
But Chinese-funded Escape Plan 2: Hades, sinks to a new low. They basically took Stallone’s name and plonked it into a shell of a movie that shares the first two words of the title.
The CG was a joke. The story was a mess. And the acting was just lots of frowning and sweating closeups of the Chinese leads, one of whom is Angelababy’s husband.
Without Arnie, and with Stallone playing almost a cameo role, we are stuck with Angelababy’s Husband as a member of Stallone’s team stuck in an ever-changing high-tech prison.
The Chinese leads are prisoners in the “high-tech” prison where prisoners fight for time in the “sanctuary”. At one point, the lead actor starts a fight and all the prisoners are “zapped”. There is a cheapo “lightning” effect and the cameraman actually shakes to make it look like the prisoners are being electrocuted.
That made me laugh out loud.
It’s a movie that you should not even try to watch for free on your illegal China Android TV box because you can’t get your money back from the producers to pay you for your wasted time, like an oBike deposit.
Instead of calling it Escape Plan: Hades, they should have called it Escape Plan: What the Hell.
You will wish you had an Escape Plan if you watch this sequel. Tellingly, it went straight to VOD in the US. I think it should go straight into the VCD discount bin.
I was on a plane for many hours. I was on planes A LOT. Here is another bunch of mrbrown's Short-Attention-Span Movie Reviews.
1. 12 Strong. Thor is a Special Forces soldier sent to whack Al-Qaeda with a team of 12, after 9-11. Reasonably entertaining but very America Rah Rah.
2. The 15:17 to Paris. Based on the true story of three Americans who stopped a terrorist from shooting up a Paris train. Clumsy movie that used the real fellas acting as themselves. They can’t act. And the movie felt too long to tell the story of something that was over in a few seconds.
3. Den of Thieves. Gerard Butler as Major Crimes badass vs a bunch of professional bank robbers. Better than Geostorm, lousier than Olympus Has Fallen.
4. Ocean’s 8. Watched this on the last day of my time in SF, at an AMC cinema. Entertaining heist movie. The all-female cast was fun to watch. Awkwafina was a hoot. Not as good as Ocean’s Eleven (hard to beat the original) but way better than Ocean’s Twelve.
5. The Mountain Between Us. Kate Winslet and Idris Elba try to survive crashing into a snow-covered mountain. The Revenant this ain’t. But Kate held the show together. A little too long and draggy. Watch only if stuck on a plane with terrible movie selection (I’m looking at you, EVA Air).
6. Molly’s Game. Jessica Chastain is Molly Bloom, who was arrested by the FBI for running poker games for the rich and famous. Based on a true story. If you like Aaron Sorkin’s writing and dialogue, this movie will entertain you. Also stars Idris Elba, as her lawyer.
Just how bad was Pacific Rim: Uprising? After the screening, a few of us fans of the first movie, had to hug each other for comfort.
It had dodgy CG and lacked Guillermo del Toro’s heart. And the sequel felt like one of those pro-China Jackie Chan movies. It may as well be titled Pacific Rim: 中国万岁.
It had its fun robot moments, but even those couldn’t make up for the rest of the movie.
John Boyega just didn’t have Idris Elba’s gravitas.
I mean, Elba could make cheesy lines like “Today, we are canceling the apocalypse!” sound epic.
At one point of the movie, Boyega says in a speech, “I am not my father…” and I found myself agreeing rigorously.
Boyega was okay when he was being witty. But when he tried to be heroic, it didn’t quite work.
And why do all the Jaegers look so alike? Macam Transformers liddat. After a while, you don’t even know which robot is which.
Chinese actress Jing Tian completes her hat trick of stinkers with The Great Wall, Kong: Skull Island, and this movie. I think the next time you see a Hollywood movie with Jing Tian in it, run.
As one of my readers, Dinesh, commented: " Looks like Jing Tian’s Hollywood career won't make it to Ming Tian."
No more sequels please. Pacific-rimmed by one sequel is enough.
mrbrown’s one-sentence Black Panther review: One of the best Marvel movies ever made, up there with Winter Soldier.
Ok, I’ll throw in a second sentence: the most powerful warrior of all of Wakanda, Okoye, and T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri, stole the show.
Should I stop there? I think I cannot. Words cannot describe my love for the movie.
The action was kickass, the production design was gorgeous, and the story was intelligent and nuanced. And Killmonger may well be my favorite villain ever.
Go watch it. I’m going to watch it again now, for sure.
With just four days to the end of the year, Jackie Chan’s Bleeding Steel made it as my WORST movie of 2017.
It was cheesy, hokey, and tried to copy (badly) every sci-fi movie out there. You could see they were lifting from Star Wars, Star Trek, GI Joe, Hellraiser, Underworld, Transformers, Terminator, Power Rangers, and the Matrix in this rojak.
This review will contain spoilers because it doesn’t matter if you know what happens.
The first warning that this was going to be bad was the sheer number of production companies involved. I counted more than ten in the intro. It felt like half of the Chinese movie industry was involved in it.
Then came a list of Executive Producers and Producers. You could make ten more movies with the army of producers listed in the opening credits.
Bleeding Steel couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. It started out serious. Then it became a an unfunny slapstick comedy. Then it became a tragic melodrama (“Papa! Papa!”). Then it became serious again. It was like five different genres rolled into one.
It was unintentionally funny too. I laughed out loud when Jackie Chan’s (spoiler alert) arm grew back in the end.
You can tell the Sydney tourism board was involved because you see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in many scenes, in the day, in the night, in a panning shot, in a drone shot… they got their money’s worth.
Audi was a major sponsor, I think. In one major chase scene, the bad guys drove Audi and Jackie Chan also drove an Audi. It was like everyone drove Audi in Sydney. But the bad guys drove black Audi cars.
Show Lo, who was the “comedic” sidekick in the movie, was easily the most annoying character in the movie and the most unfunny one too.
The random angmoh villain woman’s acting was sooooo bad. Did anyone in the public notice her silly outfit with the cape and her black motorcycle helmet soldiers walking around the streets of Sydney? Why didn’t anyone call the police?
In fact, why does every angmoh in this movie act so badly? Did they run out of budget to hire credible westerners to act in it?
My friend who fell asleep through bits of the movie asked me , “Did I miss anything? Where did the bad guy get his space ship?”
”No, you missed nothing. That space ship came out of nowhere. They never explain how the bad guy could afford, or have the tech, to build one,” I replied.
There was also a totally unnecessary scene involving some hooligans bullying the teenage protagonist, filled with racist stereotypes: black dude and his buddies wants to molest and/or rape her, gets kicked in the balls. Twice. Look at the black pervert guy holding his balls in pain, the movie seems to be saying.
Also disturbing was the unnecessary scene where some “witch” pulls apart the teen heroine’s shirt to expose her bra and chest, to administer an emergency injection. What the.
Jackie Chan looks old enough to be the father of the lady cop sidekick, and old enough to be the grandfather of the teen who plays his daughter.
Other moments of stupidity: When Jackie Chan fell out of the villain’s space ship (which developed a malfunction for no reason whatsoever and exploded), he was falling without a parachute, He somehow managed to catch up with his daughter and the lady cop sharing a parachute, and they talked in midair.
Good thing I only paid nine ringgit (three Singapore dollars) to watch it in a Kuching cinema.
There is NO way this movie deserves a 6.8/10 score on IMDB. I call shenanigans.
It was kind of sad that Jackie Chan actually made this movie, tarnishing his movie career legacy. That movie poster of him falling from the sky is symbolic of his credibility going down the tubes after this stinker.
When I saw Jackie Chan getting beaten up by the villain, I was actually hoping the villain would win.
Bleeding Steel was just bleeding lousy. No amount of Chinese money spent on the action scenes and (poor) CG can save it.
Save your money and wait for the movie to show up on some pirated movie streaming site. And don’t watch it even then.
Star Wars fans, I know you have waited for this. Is this The Empire Strikes Back level good? Or is this The Phantom Menace bad?
I watched this last night, 12th December 2017, and I am glad to report that it was EPIC. Not just good, not just so-so, not just fan service (The Force Awakens, I am looking at you), but a true and legit chapter in the world of Star Wars.
There is no way for me to write this without spoiling the movie. So let me just say, Pew pew pew! Noooooooo! Yesssssss! Pew pew pew! Ooooooh. Porgs! Light saber battle! Waaaaaaaat??? More light saber battle! Wait what??? Pew pew pew!
You will be pleased to know that my prediction that Jabba the Hutt was Rey's father, did not come true.
*Mild Mild Spoiler Alert Ahead*
Some bits were a little OTT. Superhuman even. You will understand what I mean when you see it. I also found the casino side plot a little distracting.
Some of you may be disappointed that your questions from The Force Awakens will not be answered or may be answered only partially. I say, suck it up. More will probably be revealed in the next chapter.
Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran, was an awesome new character. She is an engineer who shows how even characters in the background can play a major part in an epic rebellion. I thought her role grounded the movie. I had the pleasure of meeting her when she visited the Apple Orchard Store. Kelly is lovely in person too.
Laura Dern's Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo was another standout. I was not sure if I was going to like her at first ("What was up with the quirky outfits and coloured hair?" asks the reviewer with the blue hair) but she grew on me. She made me feel angry at Poe Dameron amd won me over with her charm and sense of duty.
There were nice little moments in the movie when it alluded to scenes from Empire. Yet the fan service did not distract or take over the movie, and the story stands on its own.
There were also poignant moments in the scenes between Luke and Leia. Luke, oh, Luke Skywalker is the best version of himself in this movie. I liked him here more than I ever did in 4, 5 and 6.
Kylo Ren is still a whiny little boy but is more fleshed out this time. Fleshed out (recalls a scene, chortles to self).
Rey, she is very charismatic, even in long closeups. More Rey please. I even watched Murder on the Orient Express because of Daisy Ridley (that movie was beautifully shot, Hercule Poirot was brilliantly acted by Kenneth Branagh's moustache, but the story was a bit slow and weak. End mini-review.)
As usual, what will the Resistance do without the droids? BB-8 is a true hero, like R2 before him.
*Mild Mild Spoiler Alert Ends*
My wife, who is not as huge a Star Wars fan as I am, enjoyed it too. And she said it didn't feel like two and a half hours long, which means they got the pacing right.
I am going to catch it again soon, this time with my kids. I am raising my own generation of Star Wars children. I was a kid when I watched the first Star Wars, and to be able to continue watching the saga unfold with my own kids is awesome.
Pew pew pew!
Limpeh watch Justice League liao. This movie is can watch.
Was it perfect? No. Was it fun? Yes.
Wonder Woman and The Flash — The Princess and the Jester — did it for me.
Every time Wonder Woman has a scene, you cheer a little. And Ezra Miller had all the best lines, which he milked with his fish-out-of-water Flash.
Even Affleck’s Batman was less unlikeable than his brooding angry version in BvS.
Plot was a little basic but you forgive it once the team gets together and does its thing. The villain and his flying cockroach men were quite generic as bad guys go, but the focus was really on the good guys’ team anyway.
Some of the CG was a little jarring. Like Cyborg’s body and some Super person’s mousache being digitally erased. Steppenwolf also looked a bit like the digital Princess Leia very often.
I liked the use of the music in this movie a lot. Listen for the theme from the 1978 classic Superman: The Movie by John Williams, weaved into the movie.
And oh, do stay for the TWO closing credits scenes. One of which was a comic lover’s scene come true.
For more photos from my visit to London for the Justice League event, check out my Instagram.
[Photo caption: Unpublished and unverified photo of the Real Flash.]
Batman said he could not save the world alone, so mrbrown went to join the Justice League. And sits on the Flash's second-favorite chair.
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/7gi_AeMsjmM
It was a real pleasure to be in London to meet the cast of Justice League. Ben Affleck (Batman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ezra Miller (the Flash), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) were all very warm and friendly.
It made the 14 hours to fly to London (and another two hours to clear immigration and get from Heathrow to town) all worthwhile.
It is very rare to get all the cast together in one room like this, and even more precious to be able to meet them. I told Gal that Joy, my youngest, was a fan, and that she watched the Wonder Woman movie more than once. And also thanked Gal for being a strong role model for girls.
Ben Affleck was amused at how my blue hair and clothes all matched.
Thanks to Warner Brothers for inviting me to be at this special fan event.
[Photo by @daviddettmannphotography]
Yes, as you probably expected, Transformers 5 is just as bad as the other four. Two and a half hours of robot rojak, mashed together in one set piece after another.
Did I enjoy it? Some of it here and there. The opening King Arthur sequence was exciting. You know, I would have enjoyed watching the entire King Arthur/Transformers story alone.
And the bit about Bumblebee’s WWII past was fun. But as the story builds up towards the final act, it all falls apart. By the last 30 minutes, you are wondering, WHAT KIND OF STUPID STORY IS THIS?
Since I am on an all-caps rant mode, let me share some of my peeves. And before you read on, I warn you there are some spoilers.
1. What was up with the over-sexualization of the new tween character, Izabella (Isabela Moner)? Michael Bay had her running sexily in a sexy tank top and to top it off, threw in cringeworthy come-ons from one of the boys who meet her in the first act. I understand if Michael Bay chose to objectify the previous Transformers women like Megan Fox, Rosie Alice Huntington-Whiteley and Nicola Peltz but come on, Isabela Moner is FIFTEEN.
2. The humans are mostly useless in this movie. In the end, the Autobots have to win the day. Not even Mark Wahlberg, whom I like, is given a useful role in the plot. They give you false hope when he looks like he was going to be THE CHOSEN ONE, and you wait for him to transform into some more epic, maybe a superhero human Transformer hybrid. Nope. Doesn’t happen. He mostly ends up making sure Viviane (Laura Haddock) doesn’t fall down because they need her to hold the staff (her one job). Oh, and he gets to raise a sword to rally the mythical Knights of Cybertron. Big fat whoop.
3. The super-annoying pandering and product placements for the China market. Come on, the American agencies are using Xin.com? And there was also one angmoh character listening to a music service that wasn’t Apple Music or Spotify, but some Chinese music service.
Peeves Rant over.
What saved the day was Anthony Hopkins and his butler robot, C3P0. Ok, that’s not his name, it’s Cogman, a four-feet high smart-ass Transformer who shoots missiles out of his mouth. I enjoyed their repartee and Anthony Hopkins looked like he was really having fun as the keeper of Transformer lore and secrets. I wish they had done something more with Cogman, who is a Headmaster. Nope, he remains solo in this movie, and doesn’t combine with other Headmasters. So you can park your excitement at the possibility of a Headmasters debut.
I also enjoyed seeing Bumblebee kick ass in this installment. And the introduction of the bad guys when Megatron asks for his squad to be assembled was cool: Mohawk! Dreadbot! Onslaught! Nitro! Berserker! Somewhat like an assembly of his Suicide Squad.
Seems this is the last Michael Bay foray at the Transformers franchise. Maybe we will get someone better at telling a story for the next instalment, instead of stringing together one action sequence after another. I am so tired of all the epic camera angles already. Everything is so epic when he directs. Even short little robots and tweens.
Aiyah, you are still going to watch the movie despite the one-star reviews. So go ahead, watch it. Just go in with lowered expectations and you should get through the two and a half hours. We need the movie to get new toys anyway.
Once again, we return to the Fast and Furious saga, with Fast 8, or Fate of the Furious, or The Fast and Furious 8, or #F8. Whichever title rocks your boat.
The Taiwanese soap opera of Action Movies is back with number 8, and just like you forgot the plots of the previous seven installments, you will forget this one too. Personally, I think you should try to remember at least the last three movies, because got some link one.
But no fear! Nobody watches a Fast and Furious movie for the story! We just want to know, "Was the action good?", "Did they outdo themselves in the 夸张 Department?" and "How many cars did they destroy this time?"
The answer to that is Yes, Very Much Yes, and Way Too Many to Count.
You watch Fast and Furious movies because you know they will beat the bad guys. Like a Ip Man movie. But you still watch because you want to see HOW they beat the bad guys.
The big bad person this time is Charlize Theron, whom I love but she didn't get to be as evil as I wanted her to be. Still, she makes for a great villain, as the hacker Cipher. Kinda like Anonymous but with better looks. I just wish she got out more, instead of doing her hacking in her secret lair.
Every member of the cast is fun to watch. They know their parts already (like the banter and chemistry of Tyrese and Ludacris) but the new power couples like Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson were also enjoyable to watch. Yes, Deckard Shaw joins the good guys this time.
F8 was not as good as the previous 5, 6 and 7, I felt, but still a serviceable addition to the series. I had a good time watching driverless cars vs Russian motorcade, sports cars vs submarine, and The Rock vs a concrete bench. All of which I could suspend disbelief for.
But one thing bothered me throughout the entire movie (besides the floating captions whenever they changed locales). And there is a minor spoiler here so stop if you are sensitive.
Most of you may know that Jason Statham, Deckard Shaw in the movie, was the enemy of Vin Diesel's family in Furious 7, right? And you know that he killed Han in Fast and Furious 6, right?
SO HOW COME HE CAN BE FRIEND-FRIEND WITH THE TEAM IN FURIOUS 8???
Ghost in the Shell (Ang Moh Edition) was a visually stunning movie with an average story. If you haven't seen the original anime version before, you will think this is an above average action movie.
If you have seen the original before and loved it, you will be somewhat annoyed that the Hollywood one has the body of the original but not the brains and the soul of it.
Even so, the fanboy in me got very excited at some scenes. Like the Spider Tank scene. Or the iconic Water Fight scene. Manly tears were shed.
How about the whitewashing part, you ask? Please. Of course it is. But you know, Scarjo held the weak plot together and made it watchable.
Now to rewatch the original anime movie. And I also bought Season 1 and 2 of the Stand Alone Complex series.
At least the flawed Hollywood movie made me seek to recapture the Ghost in the Shells of my youth.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is the The Empire Strikes Back of the John Wick series. Who knew a sequel could outgun the original? Much gun-fu. So pencil.
Keanu Reeves has made action movies cool again. Be warned, it is violent and visceral. Don't watch if you don't like guns.
Go and watch the best assassin in the world with the most kiamchye mia. Run, John, run.
I watch so many movies that I sometimes cannot find the time to review them all. But since the weekend is coming, I thought you might enjoy my roundup.
1. Split: James McAvoy acting very good, story so-so only. Saved by the actor. My feelings for the movie were split.
2. Jackie: Natalie Portman acting very good, movie a bit slow-moving. Helps if you know a bit about JFK and American history.
3. The Founder: Tastier than fast food and a surprisingly entertaining movie about McDonald's. Keaton's acting very tokong, you want to support him and punch him at the same time.
4. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: Yay! Fitting end to the saga. So good, you can watch the first one and then this one. Skip the stinker with Li Bing Bing.
5. Hacksaw Ridge: Best war movie since Saving Private Ryan. You watch already you will want to be a combat medic. Makes you forgive Andrew Garfield for Spider-man and Mel Gibson for being himself.
6. Patriots Day: Very well-told story about the Boston Marathon bombings. Tense and kancheong. Mark Wahlberg is very good at these Based on a True Story movies. Like his previous Deepwater Horizon.
7. Allied: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in a WWII Is-She-a-Gpod-Guy-Or-Not love story. Supposed to be based on a true story (so many on this list seems to be true stories hor?) Not a usual war movie but I enjoyed it. Got people cry in the cinema lor.
The LEGO Batman Movie is the best Batman movie period. I am not saying that just because LEGO Batman is photobombing the LEGO Minifig of me. The movie exceeded my expectations. It was bigger, better, and funnier than the first LEGO movie.
It even out-Suicide-Squad-ed the movie Suicide Squad. And if the Justice League movie sucks, we would still have this movie.
It digs deep into Batman lore, referencing every Batman since the first one, and Will Arnett nails the voice and character of LEGO's Batman.
Why does it take a LEGO movie to be the best DC Superhero movie so far? They are just bricks! Why can't the humans do a better job of making a DC Superhero movie?
The movie even made me feel stuff. A movie made of LEGO bricks has more emotional gravitas than any of the recent DC offerings. How strange is that?
Watch out for the endless stream of cameos and Easter Eggs too.
This movie is going to sell sooooooo many sets of Bat-vehicles, I tell you.
The Great Wall is a Zhang Yimou movie about alien monsters attacking China and Chinese soldiers of the elite Nameless Order (corny name lah) holding them back at the Great Wall. It doesn't have his usual subtle and complex relationships.
Oh, and it also has a few random Ang Mohs in it, one of them acted by a fella called Matt Damon who plays a brigand/mercenary.
It is an enjoyable but somewhat generic alien battle movie, peppered with occasional propaganda. The visuals and costumes are awesome. My favorite is General Lin Mae (chiobu Jing Tian) and her Flying Crane corps.
You can tell they put a lot of effort into the CG and the costume and weapon details.
From the movie, I learned that China invented gun powder, hot air balloons and bungie jumping.
Matt Damon was ok in the movie. Frankly, his role would have worked with an Asian actor in his place, like Donnie Yen.
And Andy Lau's strategist role would have worked better with Tony Leung.
[Spoiler warning] The alien monster weakness is reminiscent of the villains from the Avengers movie and Independence Day. zzzzz
The movie also starred the world's most powerful magnet, that can disrupt alien sleep patterns.
Still, a fun silly movie to watch and kill time with. Especially when you're in Penang on a Do Nothing But Eat vacation, and Malaysian cinema tickets are cheaper.
Watched Moana with the kids. It was very good. I miss Hawaii already. And now I want to visit all the Pacific islands.
The visuals are gorgeous, especially the way they render the ocean.
I felt Moana was a good role model for my youngest one. Strong and independent, kind-hearted and determined.
Joy told me some of the backstory as to why this movie was made.
The Pacific Islanders were the great ocean navigators 3,000 years ago, but suddenly, without explanation, they stopped voyaging for a thousand years, and then restarted it just as suddenly. This story was made to explain this mystery.
You can tell that Disney put a lot of research in getting the cultures and histories right. Hopefully, it will get people interested in the stories of the Pacific Islands.
Now I can't get the theme song out of my head.
We set a course to find
A brand new island everywhere we row,
We keep our island in our mind
And when it’s time to find home,
We know the way."
Ben-Hur 2016 was not the remake we asked for, but the remake that was made anyway. It was not a terrible film, and some of the action and better special effects were pretty good (especially the climatic chariot race and the ship battle), but it ultimately lacked soul.
A little like like hearing some cover version of a Whitney Houston song sung by an average contestant in America's Got Talent.
It has big shoes to fill, and the original has such an iconic status that to expect this 2016 edition to fill its shoes may be asking too much.
Jack Huston is no Charlton Heston, but he makes a serviceable Judah Ben-Hur. Morgan Freeman looks like he is dialing it in but he is still a pleasure to watch.
I do enjoy director Bekmambetov's other work, like Wanted and the Day Watch/Night Watch movies. This one was so-so for me. The first half of the movie was sloooow. It picked up in the second half a little. I did not see much 3D-ness in the IMAX 3D edition of this movie, so I think catch it in 2D is enough.
Some differences to watch out for: 2016 Judah and Messala are brothers instead of bros. And Jesus is actually a visible character in this remake.