Personally, I love the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Every game released since the very first in 2007 has been at least enjoyable. Some are superb, such as Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, others are not that good but do fall into the guilty pleasure category. If there was someone that wanted this movie to be great… That was me! With an all-stars cast, this could be the first good videogame adaptation, right? Wrong. Let’s find out why.
When Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is rescued from death row by Abstergo Foundation, he must help them find the Apple of Eden, a powerful artefact that was last seen in 15th century Spain. In order to achieve that, he must relive the “genetic memories” of his ancestor Aguilar (also Fassbender) using the Animus, a machine created to that end.
As you can probably imagine, the interesting parts of the movie are those that happen during the Spanish Inquisition, as most of the action and relevant moments can be found during those sequences. However, most of the runtime is spent in the Abstergo facilities, probably because producing a scene located in a regular corridor is cheaper than creating the CGI required to go over 500 years back in time. This results in a dull experience, with lots of exposition scenes and filler conversations that lead nowhere.
Due to Fassbender’s lack of Spanish knowledge, his 15th century character has very few lines throughout the film. His accent is so bad that during a dramatic climax I couldn’t help it and burst into laughter. I understand that’s not a strong enough reason to change the location of the movie or cast another actor, but they could have learnt from the games instead and have characters speak English regardless of their origin, with some simple Spanish sentences thrown in every now and then to give context. “Hola, my name is Aguilar.”
Other than that, his performance is correct, but as with the rest of the characters, especially Marion Cotillard’s, those efforts are not enough to make him interesting or relatable. There is a very evident lack of depth to the characters. Poorly written dialogue floods the film, even achieving to make Jeremy Irons sound bland. That’s quite a feat, if you ask me.
Action sequences are a lot of fun. They may not be perfectly executed, as shaky-cam and quick cuts are abundant, but they do work as a visual spectacle. The way violence is depicted is quite underwhelming, though. Due to the movie’s PG-13 rating, almost no blood is shown on screen, and in many moments it is obvious the lack of thereof.
The story could be compelling, but the chain of events is very poorly organised, which makes it very confusing even for those of us that have played the games. The man seating next to me in the theatre fell asleep, and I honestly can’t judge him.
Assassin’s Creed has a ton of lore that is very difficult to respect due to its variety, but not respecting certain aspects of it would be better than having conflicts of its own. For example, Aguilar gets his ring finger cut off in order to use the blades hidden in his sleeves. According to the lore, this is correct, but the movie fails to stick to that decision, as his missing finger can be spotted many times later due to the extensive work that it would require getting it removed digitally frame by frame.
Speaking of lore, this movie does have a lot of references to it that will delight the fans of the franchise. From the bleeding effect to the Assassin bombs from Revelations, Ubisoft manages to keep a smile on the faces of the followers of the games.
This is a mess of a movie. It is entertaining at times thank to its action scenes, but other than that, it fails enormously. Characters are uninteresting, the script is bland, CGI is terrible at times, the story is sloppily told… It’s hard to tell whether the curse of bad videogame adaptations is a thing, but if it is, Assassin’s Creed won’t break it. 3/10