Image Credit: 20th Century Fox
Video game adaptations are, more or less, hit or miss, leaning more towards the latter than the former. If you look hard enough, I bet you could find an exception or two, but that would require some heavy digging. For now, we have a talented quartet of actors which include: a two-time Oscar nominee, and quite possibly one of the world’s greatest, Michael Fassbender. We also have Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, again a terrific actress. And did I mention that “Assassin’s Creed” also has Jeremy Irons on the roster as well? Along with a slew of terrific supporting actors which I can almost guarantee didn’t read a single page of the script.
It’s tough to find a starting point with “Assassin’s Creed,” one of the worst stylized movies I’ve ever seen, because the concept is so high maintenance, and the plot is extremely convoluted. Alas, I shall try. Fassbender, turns in not one, but two of the worst performances of his career, playing Cal Lynch, who is a young man that may or may not have witness his father kill his mother. Fast forward a few years, and we have adult Cal sitting on death row for killing, and I wish I was joking, a pimp. Why does he kill the pimp? What was his motives? Surely being convicted of capital murder was worth killing this “pimp” right? Well those are answers never made privy to us.
Sorry I got sidetracked by all the tomfoolery, but wait there’s more!
Cal walks up inside a medical facility to find Sofia (Cotillard) telling him that he is actually alive, but the rest of the world thinks he is dead. Sofia has been researching how to get rid of a man’s impulse towards violence, and to further her research she needs to hook up Cal to the animus, a term anyone who played the video games will understand instantly, but for those who don’t I’ll explain. The animus reads the history embedded in someone's DNA, and then forces that person to relive in an ancestors history.
All that is good, solid, stuff, I played the videogames I understand all the crackpot terminology being thrown my way, you could even say that I am in the demographic for a movie like this, and I still found myself bored. Anyway, onto more mindless exposition...stick with me here.
In Cal’s case with the animus it transports him back to 1492 Spain, where, for who knows why, he becomes his ancestor - an assassin named Aguilar. He and his fellow compatriots are the guards for the Apple Of Eden - an object that can unlock the secrets of free will - at least, I think that’s the whole point of this movie. All I know is that Sofia and her dad (Jeremy Irons) need the apple because turns out, they are Templars (whatever that means) and the Templars are arch enemies of the Assassin’s Creed, in case you were wondering.
I suppose, in the defense of the filmmakers, there is some decently choreographed fight sequences, but the whole problem is the movie takes too long to get there. Justin Kurzel (who helmed Fassbender last year in “Macbeth”) mistakes that the plot is the key importance in this film over the action, Newsflash, it’s not. The best part about the videogame was the ability to run, jump, and parkour over inanimate objects like a breeze in the air. Sure, I had missions to complete, but any gamer would be lying if they said they didn’t stop to take in the surroundings, A feature that is stripped from the final product here.
Not to mention the whole movie is basically Fassbender hooked up to this huge crane game, as it swooshes him around like a rag doll, with the director constantly cutting back and forth between 1492 Spain, and him hooked up to this machine, as if I wanted to see Michael Fassbender fight air. Not only does it look stupid, it’s never believable.
By the time the action does start to heat up, we have already been drowned in backstory after backstory, with a spruce of cheeky, formulaic, mythology thrown in. What’s worse is that “Assassin’s Creed” doesn’t really have a conclusion, more of a “we will just leave this here for you to think about while you try to
scavenge what you just watched.” That Xbox One controller never looked so good. D-