| When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.
I’m keeping this review short because… well…. this movie is no ‘Macbeth’… that’s for sure. I’m perplexed on how they took one of the most fun mystery action video game franchises and turned it into one of the most boring and unappealing film adaptations. My expectations were already low and I went into this movie to just enjoy an average film. What I got was another unbearable experience.
In what should have been the highlight of the film like in the games; the animus and the adventures of the guild of Assassins in war torn Spain under the inquisition of Torquemada, is simply not very exciting and in fact not even explored enough. The plot and counter plot, the plan, the lead up to the climactic strike, these are the things that should have formed the thread that ties the adventures of Aguilar together. Unfortunately this is not the case. The entire film is a simple macguffin story, an item is lost, and Abstergo wants to know where in history it was last seen. It is not compelling, it is not even interesting. And I know it sounds similar like in the game (which I was a fan of) but trust me, it comes nowhere near it.
Another problem here is the main character named Cal played by Michael Fassbender. For a “hero”, he is astoundingly unlikable. He’s a man on death row for unrepentant murder. He’s cold, dark, and unpleasant. If we are to care if Cal escapes his predicament, we need to care about him. We at least need to like him a little, and for some time it really isn’t quite clear if Cal of Sofia is the one we should be rooting for here, as neither of them show much heroism. He even seems uninterested in solving his mother’s murder.
The absence of a compelling villain is a huge detractor in a film about professional Assassins. The games knew this, and even though the stories were ‘find the item’ plots as well, each had fiendish historical villains to eliminate in complex plots along the way. Here, we are presented with a handful of bad guys, none of which fit the bill.
| “What the fuck is going on?”
The editing in this makes the editing in the theatrical version of ‘Suicide Squad’ look competent. There are too many moments in the action sequences that cut back and forth between the present time and the animus, which never happens in the game so this quickly takes away from the linear action and the audience/fan engagement in the film.
Once in the Animus we get tiresome chase scenes that form the basis of each regression (you also see an Eagle every fucking time they get in). They are too loud, showy, full of flips and suspiciously modern parkour, and absolutely none of the excitement or physical thrill that they should deliver. Each scene here simply feels like a farce, with nameless goons chasing after the fleeing assassins from every angle, seemingly ahead of the heroes at every turn, to be punched and kicked, and then chase after them some more.
Everything is just wasted potential. Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Marion Cotillard and Michael K. Williams are all given so little to do it’s practically criminal. Why these Oscar and Emmy-winning actors signed on to this joyless and convoluted “vomit script” is beyond comprehension. This is a failure, from a story that never engages, progresses or displays even the slightest inkling of forward momentum, to action setpieces remarkable in their dullness. Sure, there are some arresting stylistic flourishes and attempts at a more meaningful, philosophical subtext, but neither help the whole affair escape from the monotony, the tedium, the lifelessness.
‘Assassin’s Creed’ is a poor adaption of some excellent source material. It attempted to craft its own narrative around the game’s most uninteresting gimmick, and failed miserably.
‘Assassin’s Creed’ gets a 4.6/10.
Shot on 35's Rating Sheet: 9.5 – 10.0: Excellent! 8.5 – 9.5: Fantastic, but with minor flaws 7.5 – 8.5: Great, but with issues 6.5 – 7.5: Okay, but with major issues 5.5 – 6.5: Had potential, but falls flat hard. 4.5 – 5.5: Disaster!