Leading man Jack Huston may not measure up to Charlton Heston, even with a hefty CGI boost, but the 2016 Ben-Hur is a stirring spectacle in its own right.

Ben-Hur Toby Kebbell

When it comes to the famous chariot race, this remake of William Wyler’s multi-Oscar-winning 1959 epic needs lashings of CGI to match its rousing predecessor, but the new Ben-Hur’s cinematic fakery doesn’t stop the sequence from being a stirring spectacle in its own right.

Nowhere near as dynamic as the action surrounding them, leads Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell fall well short of original stars Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd. But compared with Wyler’s three-and-half hour movie, Night Watch director Timur Bekmambetov’s two-hour film is positively brisk in showing how these former childhood friends – one a 1st-century Jewish prince, the other a Roman tribune – turn into mortal enemies.

Along the way, there’s a tremendous sea battle, which proves every bit as exciting as the climactic race – although desert sheik Morgan Freeman’s dreadlocks are almost as eye-popping.

Certificate 12. Runtime 123 mins. Director Timur Bekmambetov

Ben-Hur is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from 16 January, courtesy of Paramount Pictures & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

Blu-ray extras:

·         Feature film in high definition
·         Ben-Hur: The Legacy
·         The Epic Cast
·         A Tale for Our Times
·         The Chariot Race
·         A Story of Christ
·         Deleted & Extended Scenes