Assassin’s Creed (2016) – Review

There was genuine reason for hope with this movie. Hope that it might finally buck the trend of rubbish video game adaptations. It didn’t look – at least on paper – like a studio simply cashing in on an established franchise; director Justin Kurtzel had arrived right off the seductive and bleak Macbethbringing the film’s two lead stars with him, and the general expectation was that they would team up in a similar fashion to put together another film that would be just as interesting but perhaps, to a studio’s delight, less esoteric.

These thoughts had been swirling around my head as I stood in line to see the film on its theatrical release back in 2016. I ended up bailing for reasons I can’t remember, and I’ve only just now caught up with it. Needless to say, I missed zilch that night.

This film is not good.

The worst part of the Assassin’s Creed games has always been the meandering present-day Animus stuff. It’s just unnecessary. I want to play a cool story set during the Renaissance where Assassins and Templars are at war, not walk around a bland futuristic room turning on plugs. Every time it yanks me out of that Animus and plonks me in the shoes of some lame ancestor of the game’s protagonist, I lose interest and wish the writers weren’t so obsessed with complicating a perfectly good sword and sandals game. However, at least the games understand that the memories of Altair and Ezio are the main part, and we spend the majority of our time back in the day.

What the film does is make the tragic mistake of assuming the modern stuff is the most important, so we end up spending the majority of the running time having the increasingly silly plot explained to us via boring characters in those boring futuristic rooms, while each sequence set in the 13th century (the reason it’s called Assassin’s Creed and people want to see the film) just turns into a big, reckless action sequence. Fassbender’s less interesting Callum Lynch has around 10x the dialogue of his ancestor Aguilar, and we couldn’t care less about either of them.


Verdict:

Even if the premise wasn’t that criminals are only violent because their ancestors were violent, it would still be rubbish.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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