2 1/2 Stars
Ben Hur has to be both the most prestigious and lowest grossing title to get the Asylum mockbuster treatment. It speaks that the critical and commercial drubbing of Ben Hur (2016) has not only doomed the theatrically released picture, but has also buried this low-budget B-movie retelling as well.
Ben Hur (Adrian Bouchet) is a retired Obi-Wan type figure that is pulled from his hermit status to aid a young boy and a group of rebels to overthrow the Romans. Taking its cues from Star Wars and Braveheart is admirable, but the sparse production is slow-moving, until a fine chariot chase sequence across beach front real estate during the finale. The Romans are rounding up virginal young woman and sending them to Nero in hopes that he will send better trained soldiers to the forgotten outpost.
This doesn’t sit well with Adrian (Jonno Davies) a fiery tempered lad, who turns to Ben Hur for training a separatist movement against the Roman Empire. Ben agrees to show the motley crew self-defense techniques, but it realistic about their chances against trained soldiers. Meanwhile, the Roman General has banded six mercenaries to hunt down the insurgents and to kill Ben Hur with extreme prejudice.
Longtime Asylum helmer Mark Atkins delivers his most ‘polished’ film to date. The focused screenplay is simplistic but effective and the acting is uniformly better than to be expected. In the title role Adrian Bouchet makes his mark on the film, the guy has star quality and I’d like to see him onscreen again. These flicks are acquired tastes, not likely to appeal to many outside the inner circle of Asylum-heads, but In the Name of Ben Hur is a respectable entry point for those new to the Mockbuster scene.
Director: Mark Atkins
Stars:Jonno Davies, Adrian Bouchet,Peter Ormond