The New York Times review asks that very question and concludes, “Kind of, though that description makes the movie sound both more fun and more provocative than it actually is.”
I had a couple of problems with the film. The added backstory and increased action sequences seem a little too calculated for today’s market.
Plus, there wasn’t tremendous chemistry between Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, and a lot of the time Crowe seemed so subdued as to be medicated. (Which is fine with me — better he be phoning it in than throwing the phone.)
But it was basically enjoyable, with a lot of rousing stuff, and the screenplay was actually pretty well executed.
So if you favor a big, old popcorn movie in tights and with lots of brown scenery, you can probably do worse than this, Gladiator on horseback.