STARRING: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Michael Kenneth Williams, Ariane Labed, Brendan Gleeson, Matias Varela, Michelle Lin, Denis Ménochet and Charlotte Rampling
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.
Callum Lynch is rescued from his own execution by the Abstergo Foundation and transported to their facility in Madrid, Spain, where they create a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, experiencing memories of his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha, in 14th Century Spain. Callum learns that he is the descended from a mysterious society, the Assassins, and is needed by Abstergo to find the Apple of Eden which contains the genetic code for free will, in order to put an end to the disease that is violence.
Assassin’s Creed is the latest video game franchise to be getting the big screen treatment. It’s fair to say that alot of hope has been riding on Assassin’s Creed to be the one to break the trend of weak video game to film adaptations in, well, a very very long time. It’s also fair to say that alot of the expectation for this came down to the reunion of 2015 Macbeth’s director and cinematographer Justin Kurzel and Adam Arkapaw as well as its stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.
Michael Fassbender is arguably the biggest bright spark from the film as he carries the film with his onscreen presence for the duration of the films two hour runtime. While she had limited screentime, I did enjoy Ariane Labed’s performance as Maria, the assassin working alongside Aguilar. Some of the cinematography that we get from Adam Arkapaw is very good, particularly on the wide shots during the scenes back in the timeline of the Spanish Inquisition and the choreography during the Assassin’s mission statement of protecting the Apple of Eden from the Templar Order, for the most part, is very well done.
The problems for the film comes down to the story and editing for me. The latter especially is an absolute killer whenever it comes to the scenes involving the Animus machine. We get to see Callum’s ancestor Aguilar, fighting against the Templar and these sequences involving the fight choreography aren’t given room to breathe as we keep fast-cutting back and forth between Aguilar in that period to Callum attached to the Animus. Granted I can see why they would show us that the first time Callum is in the Animus but not every single time throughout the film. It missed a trick by not showing us how Callum looked whenever Aguilar begins riding a horse during a chase sequences, it showed us mostly everything else from climbing walls to sliding down rooftops. The story focuses primarily on the present day timeline and while the Spanish Inquisition timeline is far more interesting, we’re given such cold characters in the form of Marion Cotillard’s scientist Sophia Rikkin and Jeremy Irons as CEO of Abstergo Foundation Alan Rikkin. They do the best with what they can as Cotillard’s character exists to serve as exposition whilst Jeremy Irons….well, anyone could’ve been cast in that role and they wouldn’t have been any more effective than he was as the character barely does anything bar exist. Outside of Aguilar, it’s hard to find Fassbender’s Callum likeable as the film tries to justify the reason for him being on deathrow by Sophia saying he killed a human being and he replies, ‘a pimp’. Not even a mini-dialogue of explaining it further, just one line. The film also happens to have an anti-climatic ending that sets things up for a sequel but it remains to be seen how Assassin’s Creed does at the box office considering that it’s taken quite a bashing from critics.
It’s not the worst video game to film adaptation I’ve seen but the film fails to live up to the expectation of being the one to break the trend of bad video game films. When we actually get to see it, the fight choreography is well done and the scenes involving Callum’s ancestor Aguilar should’ve been the primary focus as the scenes involved in the present day just doesn’t flow as smoothly and unfortunately, it’s pretty dull when the film mainly stays in the present. Some fans of the video game series I’ve spoken to like the film but for me with the talent of the cast and crew involved, it’s a missed opportunity for me to be really good. We did get to hear Michael Fassbender sing again, which was unexpected. 4/10