Director : Justin Kurzel
Cast Headliners : Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Ariane Labed
Original Release Date : December 21, 2016
Video game films have had overall a , to say the least , hard time reaching success in Hollywood. Games and films can be such different mediums that there's a clash between experiences. Now as for Assassin's Creed there comes an interesting question... How does a linear adaption of one of the most famous open world games work ? It does sometimes....
After some questionable time jumps between 15th century Spain and the protagonists childhood , we meet the 30something Callum Lynch ( Michael Fassbender ) in the modern day on his death row end. He is saved from his end by Sophia Rikkin ( Marion Cotillard) of the mysterious Abstergo foundation.
The main crux of the AC series , and here , is that Abstergo has a technology known as the Animus that allows one to travel into a vision and control of their genetic ancestors and learn from them. Sophia and her father Alan(Jeremy Irons) act as the villainous force , wanting Callum to tap into the life of his Spanish ancestor Aguilar(also Fassbender in a silly long costume wig ), a member of the Assassin's Brotherhood of secret warriors.
The movie is thus separated into a bit of two disparate storylines. The 15th century quest of Aguilar and his assassin comrade Maria ( Ariane Labed) is the films best stuff , for the most part . Director Kurzel shows a beauty seen in his past work Macbeth, with gorgeous costumes, scenery , and swashbuckling action. The jumping and parkour and combat is right out of the originals and is solid medieval fare. While it doesn't use its Spanish setting to much more than historical context with some Moors and the Inquisition. In these parts , Fassbender and Labed are decent in their coolness , and trials against henchmen like the Black Knight ( Denis Menochet, also playing Abstergo security in a bit of cleverness ). However, while there is some cool stuff it is a minority of the overall film and reaches a cliffhanger that never really resolves itself .
The modern day stuff is not quite as interesting by any means. While Fassbender is decently cool as Aguilar , his Callum is...not the best protagonist. At times he gives some emotion and coolness, but it's mixed in with silly rants and martial arts visions of the past that are laughable. The enemy Rikkin characters do not impress , with perhaps Irons being an OK exception. Lynch's father (Brendan Gleeson) shows up in a poorly explained moment and is decent but also all too momentary.
The movie devolves into cheesy mania in the present tense as it goes on. There's side characters who don't do much (such as Michael K Williams ' Moussa), there's ok but silly action and uprisings, there's questionable turns from the games logic and general quality . There's plot holes and cliffhangers here too.
The movie gets alot wrong from the source, which is a shame. Because the world of the Assassin's and Abstergo / the Knights Templar (!) Has told at at times epic saga . But here there is lack of explanations, mixed bag of acting, and a wonky plot. Buried within though is some cool medieval action and slightly dramatic set pieces . 7 out of 10