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Assassin’s Creed – Movie Review

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Assassin’s Creed – Movie Review

Rating: D (Very Bad)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Ever since the Super Mario Brothers movie, Hollywood has been trying to crack the code at adapting a video game to the screen. Sadly, this task has proven difficult. Despite the interactivity of the format, translating a game into a film should not be this complicated. Assassin’s Creed is the latest attempt to solve this problem, but finds itself with a mostly incomprehensible plot and severe misunderstanding of the premise’s appeal. For a film about a man being mentally transported back to his ancestor’s time in the 1400’s, Assassin’s Creed surprisingly opts to spend as little time there as possible.

Most of Assassin’s Creed consists of dull scenes in a boring, white building as Michael Fassbender’s Callum Lynch tries to survive inside. There are also a multitude of sequences in which the main villains, played by Jeremy Irons and Marion Cotillard, discuss their evil plans and motivations in the most monotone manner possible. However, even with these exposition dumps, their goal is still incomprehensible and ridiculously convoluted. When all is said and done, one sits there in disbelief and wonders why these baddies could not have found a much cheaper and easier way to accomplish their goal. Assassin’s Creed is a film where the lead protagonist’s role is entirely pointless in the grand scheme of things.

Director Justin Kurzel spruces up the visuals during the sequences set in late 1400’s Spain. The production values are well done and the stunt people certainly put their all into the various jumps and sword fights Callum’s Inquisition-era ancestor performs. However, this portion of the film is also poorly plotted. If the film hadn’t spent so much time in the villain’s facility, maybe more time could have been spent fleshing out the past. That there is little interest in whether this so-called “Creed” succeeds in its goals only further dilutes the potential excitement in these action scenes. The rare compliment one can give to these sections is they might wake one up from the boredom of the rest of the film.

What is also sad is seeing these talented actors reduced to these nothing roles. Being a producer on the project, one would think Michael Fassbender’s passion for the material would appear on screen. However, he’s sadly underwhelming and gives us no reason to connect or root for his character. He is a criminal, because the plot demands it and little else. As mentioned before, Cotillard and Irons sound unenthusiastic in their roles. Cotillard seems unsure of which accent to go with and one actually starts to miss Irons’s delightfully wacky and over-the-top turn in another game inspired mess Dungeons & Dragons. Meanwhile, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling show up for random cameos that probably got them nice paycheques, but one wishes they had occupied their time doing something else.

Assassin’s Creed is unfortunately another disappointing video game adaptation and this probably comes across the saddest of all, because of the serious potential for an exciting historical adventure. The decision to not spend more time during the Spanish Inquisition is baffling and a strange choice made by either the director, the producers or the studio confusingly distributing the film at Christmas of all potential release dates. The entire project feels like a complete waste of a promising idea and only serves to make the wait for a good one of these even longer. Hopefully, the recent announcements of a Sonic the Hedgehog film and an Alicia Vikander-led Tomb Raider will get us out of this rut.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE

Stefan Ellison