A lot comes to mind when one utters the words “Assassin’s Creed”. While I personally don’t know what does, I can tell you a lot of cussing follows the word ‘film’, if it’s thrown in there somewhere.
For those like me who didn’t dabble into games after the era of Playstation 2, this game franchise of the same name is Ubisoft’s version of Final Fantasy, and in recent times, has become its crowning jewel. Spread over an expanded world in mapped through 17 contentious games, their recipients look like they are going to continue keeping their satisfaction levels up top.
Out of the blue, Hollywood star Michael Fassbender collaborated with long time paycheck backers 20th Century Fox. They agreed he resembled one of the figures in the hooded nightgowns, and decided to make our dreams not come true.
In recent times, we’ve watched Hollywood chew and spit out a lot from the gaming industry confidently. Word of this film hit the internet almost as soon as news of in development movie-based games like Uncharted and The Last of Us came around. Perhaps it was the rapid success of Assassin Creed’s franchise that threw the spotlight onto it.
Ever heard of a Justin Kurzel? Neither have I. Apparently, he brought us the successfully reiterated Macbeth last year.
Working with Fassbender on that film allowed them to skip the pleasantries on this one as they dived right in with great expectations while ignoring the outspoken truth about past game adaptations.
Playing pseudo-Desmond (protagonist from the game) Callum Lynch, Fassbender brings the convict to life, or rather to death, in the first five minutes of the film. He is resurrected by Sofia (played by the ‘Brangelina’ game changer Marion Cotillard), a scientist from the infamous private organisation known as Abstergo Industries, who are the modern day incarnation of the Knights of Templar.
And that’s where anything that nearly resembles a weighty storyline ends, with no substantial backstory to justify the film’s present events. All Kurzel and his team think you need to know are that this is a movie based on the Assassin’s Creed games and reinforces it immediately by throwing Fassbender into a world that precedes us by 500 years, during the Spanish inquisition.
Delivering his worst two sets of performances (as Callum and his look alike ancestor) in one film, talented Michael Fassbender proves his unworthiness, putting himself in the running for Worst Actor twice.
The years long forgotten are awakened by the mysterious Animus, a revolutionary technological tool used by the Templars to hack into one of Callum’s great granddad’s lives. Again for the uninformed (including myself), the Knights of Templar are run by another Oscar nominated actor, Jeremy Irons, and are the antagonists of this unimaginative world on the big screen. To stop their reign, the cult group called the Assassins worked in the shadows to bring about peace and order over centuries. So in the first ten minutes of the film, you can almost second-guess the entire film. So much for being new to this.
Assassin’s Creed has its moments, mostly bad ones.
We’ve witnessed more than once a lot of misses like Tomb Raider, Agent 47 (which I enjoyed at my first viewing for many subjective reasons), Tekken and many more. It goes to show that Hollywood can’t do big things with the best of the best from the gaming industry. Looks like this wasn’t a clear indication to leave future targets alone.
Like most of these unsuccessfully adapted films, Assassin’s Creed fails to understand that in order to fully engage one’s attention – a character backdrop, build up and progression is required to allow us to emote feelings towards them. Lack of the following unfortunately pushed everyone towards relying on their A list actor ensemble to finish the job with their looks. You’ll be surprised how many Oscar affiliated actors are attached to this film.
Even with its pre-established story from the games, us fans and newbies are given a few answers to a dozen questions. Leaning heavily on its game fan base, Assassin’s Creed focuses on merely bringing to life the world and its shiny surroundings invented in the games.
It’s an awkward feeling knowing that you smirked more than once to what are apparently references to significant elements in the game.
While it lacks in its basics, it knows how to throw a punch. Between its mechanical storyline, which doesn’t leave room for spontaneity, lies fun-crafted hand to hand duels with villains that range from peasant resembling soldiers to mob boss lookalikes.
Packed with adventurous action sequences, Callum’s ancestral lookalike proves he can compensate for a lack of acting skills with a swing of a blade. Parkour, horse ride chases, and deadly stealth shots, all of which proved to be popcorn purchase worthy for these momentary thrills.
Unfortunately, all this was shortlived for most of the film chooses to take place in the present which is quite incoherent.
Alas, what should have been more than a quick trip down memory lane, turned out to be one where we revisit this familiar story told by someone who has no perspective or love for the franchise. Assassin’s Creed is dull and boring, leaving you checking the time on your watch more than once, and is unfortunate to see what could’ve been a breakthrough in cinema, left to shambles. Although on bad terms with everyone including the fans, it is one of the better game adapted films, right after the likes of The Angry Birds Movie, and that’s the most you can shine on this film.