In truth, Assassin’s Creed is a joyless experience and a convoluted, confusing and frustrating watch on top of that. Like the games, the film flashes back and forth between ancient times at the height of the Spanish Inquisition and the present day with the Abstergo Foundation, however, the film does it much more frequently than in the games, which would make it infuriating for audiences watching it for the first time. You are not allowed any time to soak in the feel and atmosphere of the past because the intercutting between the two time periods constantly interrupts the flow of the movie. As a result, this ruins the action sequences due to the choppy editing, as well as the annoying shaky cam that’s on display.
Also, because you spend so little in the past, you fail to connect with any of the characters in that period, so there’s limited emotional engagement with the Assassin Brotherhood and the two assassins in Aguilar de Nerha and Maria. Actually, you could pretty much cut out all the scenes set in Spanish Inquisition and it wouldn’t affect the movie whatsoever. This was also a pretty lacklustre attempt at capturing the story, tone, and feel of the games, as nothing is really explained in great detail. For example, they continually addressed the Apple of Eden over and over again, yet they never feel the need to explain its full significance. In fact, the story plays out almost like a Dan Brown story more than anything else (yikes!) with a lot of unintentional hilarity, confusion, and plot holes afoot.
Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons all try their best to inject some life into this movie, but the movie completely wastes their talents as the story gives them nothing to work with, and as a result, you don’t care about their characters and just come off as generic cardboard cutouts. Plus, the movie is surprisingly bloodless considering the games were made for an adult audience and the fact that Kurzel’s Macbeth was a visceral and raw experience. Whether he just not put in the work or was prevented from going the extra mile by studio executives remains to be seen, but what we got is a film that’s oddly toothless as a result.
It looks pretty to look at, some of the action is cool, and the actors try their best, but what we have is a jumbled, confused, uninvolving splat that lacks in the areas of plot, character development, editing and pacing, and spending far too much time within a certain time period that wasn’t engaging to begin with. This is a real damn shame because the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise is a damn impressive one (mostly), and it deserved a great movie, so the potential was there. It’s just a travesty that his was the best that they could do, so for now, it’s probably best to stick with the games themselves.
ASSASSIN’S CREED / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR: JUSTIN KURZEL / SCREENPLAY: MICHAEL LESSLIE, ADAM COOPER, BILL COLLAGE / STARRING: MICHAEL FASSBENDER, MARION COTILLARD, JEREMY IRONS, BRENDAN GLEESON, CHARLOTTE RAMPLING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10