“Assassin’s Creed” stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, and Charlotte Rampling. Released on December 21, 2016, the film is about a criminal who is forced to relive the memories of his ancestor, an assassin who fights for peace with free will.
The film is directed by Justin Kurzel, who also directed Snowtown, The Turning, and Macbeth, and it is based on the popular video game franchise of the same name created by Ubisoft. 2016 has been a mixed bag in terms of video game based movies. On the down side, Ratchet & Clank bombed very hard worldwide due to the success of The Jungle Book; and Warcraft failed to score some big domestic box office numbers compared to the international box office. On the plus side, however, The Angry Birds Movie managed to perform very well at the box office despite its mixed reception from critics and is now looking at a possible sequel for Sony. We’re now down to the last video game based film before the year is over and done with. I’m only familiar with the Assassin’s Creed games, but haven’t actually played them. So it’ll be interesting to see if I can enjoy it while trying to learn about certain elements that are from the games. The bigger test is to see whether it will impress not only fans of the source material, but also those who aren’t familiar with it.
In case you’re not familiar with the video game series, it takes place during several historical events, where a group known as the Assassins battle against the menacing Templars, who seek peace through control. The film features an original story that’s set in the same universe as the games, while introducing some new characters as well as familiar characters from certain installments. If you’re a fan of the video game franchise, there may be some elements that you might enjoy, such as the Animus and the signature “Leap of Faith” jump. The story, in my opinion, was pretty interesting, but I don’t think it’s going to win an award for “Best Story in a Video Game Movie”. Some of the performances in the film were passable, such as Fassbender as both Callum Lynch and Aguilar, Cal’s ancestor. Marion Cotillard was fine as Sophia Rikkin, a leading scientist of the Animus project, but at some points, her acting fell a bit flat. Another thing that I enjoyed was the action. These are probably my favorite parts out of the entire film because of the exhilarating stunts that they performed. My only problem was that some of the close-up shots were a bit hard for me to see what’s going on. I also enjoyed the set pieces that resemble the time of the Spanish Inquisition, even though they weren’t on the high levels of epicness. While the story does its job at respecting the source material, I do feel that there should be more exploration for certain movie-goers, especially the characters. Some of them in their supportive roles felt one-dimensional. Most notably, Aguilar. I know that the film focuses on Cal, but I think it would be more believable if we would actually learn more about his ancestor, both on and off the battlefield.
Overall, it wasn’t able to break the “bad video game-based movie” curse, but “Assassin’s Creed” works as a popcorn-inducing action film as well as a respectable addition to the franchise. Despite its inability to explore certain characters and its typical, yet interesting, story, I found this latest addition in a series of films based on popular video games to be pretty entertaining. Fans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise might like the film because of the elements shown, while those who are looking for some action throughout the holiday season might enjoy it as a whole, but not as much as Rogue One.