Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Justin Kurzel
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Adam Arkapaw
WRITERS: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
MUSIC: Jed Kurzel
For those hoping that “Assassin’s Creed” would be the first good video game film adaptation, I’m afraid to say that you will be sadly disappointed. The movie has an emotionally devoid plot with no real backbone and an impressive cast that is completely wasted. Whoever it is at 20th Century Fox that thought this was the film to release right after “Rogue One” needs to be fired.
The movie should be similar to fans of Ubisoft’s long-running video game series. Michael Fassbender plays Callum Lynch in the present day. He is abducted by Abstergo Industries and put into the Animus, a machine that will allow Callum to unlock his DNA memories and access those belonging to his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha, during the Spanish Inquisition. It is learned that Aguilar is part of the famous Assassin’s Creed, a shadowy organization that has been at war with the Templars for centuries.
Abstergo, headed up by Alan Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), is trying to find the location of the Apple of Eden. Yeah, they’re looking for the famous Apple from the Biblical myth, this time in the form of a mechanical contraption that can do… something.
That’s the biggest problem with this movie. We never get to learn a damn thing about our characters, but we also don’t get to learn anything about the very thing that everyone is after. It has something to do with free will and apparently, the Apple can take that away? The question is how does it do this? Why does the Creed protect it? Why should I even care?
We spend about a quarter of our time with Aguilar and the only thing he really does is try to save some kid and keep the Apple safe. The rest of the movie spends its time in the present where Callum is slowly beginning to learn Aguilar’s skills due to a bleeding effect caused by accessing his ancestor’s memories.
Now, I’ll admit that I’ve only played a couple of the video games to any great extent. I can’t speak with a great amount of authority, but I can say that the present day stuff in the games is absolutely the most boring part. So, I’m befuddled as to why they thought the Abstergo stuff would be all that I would need to be interested.
You may now be thinking that maybe the action featured in the movie could possibly save it. Oh, how silly you are. The fight scenes range from terrible to just okay and there’s nothing memorable that really happens in that department. Well, there are a few visuals featuring the Animus that are pretty cool, but those are far and few between.
The acting is one area of praise that I can definitely give. Fassbender, Irons, and Marion Cotillard definitely give it their all despite having nearly nothing to work with. I left just wishing that they all had something more to do in order to validate their involvement.
Finally, we get to the ending… There isn’t one. I’m not saying it has the “franchise setup” ending. I’m saying that it abruptly ends and we are left with the promise of a sequel that I sincerely hope we never get. While this is definitely not the worst video game to film adaptation, that’s not saying much as it is just as forgettable as the rest of them.