Wow this might’ve been the last hope for Video Game films, and let me tell you right up front, it has failed. Hugely.
Assassin’s Creed is based on the hugely popular video game franchise of the same name, where the memories of modern day people are accessed via a machine called the animus to view the lives of their assassin ancestors in various points throughout time (although later games have done away with the modern aspect). The film stars Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch, and 15th century Spanish assassin Aguilar.
I would go into more details regarding the story, but honestly I didn’t really care whilst watching the film, you won’t care whilst watching the film. For some reasons the creative team behind Assassin’s Creed decided to use the historical elements of the film as only a small part of it. It is used as a way for the Templars to discover the location of an object called the Apple of Eden, which will somehow allow them to eradicate all free will. Instead of having a story primarily set in and focusing on the historical part we spend the majority of the film in the modern day. This has always been the worst parts of the game, to the extent that later games just went ahead and removed it. As soon as they made that decision it was always going to be a hard blow to recover from.
The problem is that what is happening in the modern day just isn’t interesting and engaging enough. It mainly consists of the major characters standing around in a shady facility with nothing really happening but long conversations on the nature of violence. We get to find out a lot about the modern Templar order’s business empire esq working, when the entire audience would rather be watching Fassbender kicking some ass against them during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. This then means that when we do get big story points in the historical part it’s hard to really care about because we have spent so little time getting to know these characters, instead we only get to see the action.
And speaking of the action. Whilst some of the set pieces are pretty cool, we get a rooftop parkour chase right out the games, so much of it gets intercut with Lynch in the animus acting out Aguilar’s movements. So whilst there is good action there, it’s ruined by something, that whilst a pretty cool and original idea once or twice, very quickly gets old and detracts from the action sequences.
A lot of the visual effects on the film look great as well. Alongside Warcraft this is one of the most technically stunning and great looking video game films of all time. But also much like Warcraft the CGI laden scenes quickly become dull to look at. Director Justin Kurzel, who’s fog and most heavy look really worked on Macbeth, decides to try and replicate it here, much to the decrement of the film, again hampering what are some very impressive visuals and effects.
There aren’t many films out there that will disappoint me more than Assassin’s Creed this year. I have such a love for this video game series, and think that there is the potential for a great adaptation in there. So to see that, and an actor as talented as Michael Fassbender, wasted in this truly awful movie is such a shame. Some people were saying this was the final hope for video game films, if that’s the case then they are well and truly dead.