Assassin’s Creed Movie Review
Assassin’s Creed is a film based on the highly popular Ubisoft game series. Rather than based on any single entry of the game series, the films supposedly is set in the games’ continuity with light references to other instalments.
To the uninitiated, the film concerns the battle between the factions of the Templars and the Cult of the Assassins, the Hashiashin. The Templars are searching for an artifact called the Apple of Eden in an effort to enslave humanity, while the Assassins intend to stop them. The film specifically follows a descendant of the Assassins called Cal, who is taken in by a Dr. Rikkin, and forced to relive his ancestor’s past in the era of the Spanish inquisition through a machine called the Animus. This is done to locate the Apple.
Assassin’s Creed came out in 2016 already, a year that saw at least two surprisingly succesful (critically and commercially) video-game adaptions come out, The Angry Birds Movie and Warcraft: The Beginning. It’s therefore a shame that AssCreed would be the movie to break the video-game films’ stride.
Firstly, the positives which is the film’s visual appearance. The film looks amazing. Especially the sequences set in in medieval Spain are amazing and manage to visually capture the feeling of the game series (and come pretty close to my favourite entry, the original). The fight scenes have both grace and impact. The parkour-esque climbing sequences are great. Even Cal’s trippy daydreams look pretty fantastic. The Animus (which in this version has been turned into a weird mechanical arm-thingy) looks pretty badass.
Unfortunately the movie has one huge problem and that is the story. Firstly, I hate that the movie has to start with a text crawl which ruins any suspense the movie would have had for those unfamiliar with AssCreed, given that Dr. Rikkin’s motivations seem quite pure for the entirety of the film. It’s a shame the movie gives the game away too soon. I’d also question the Templars just keeping a bunch of known assassins as prisoners in their Animus facility as if they were just inherently docile creatures in any sense (honestly, making the Templars seem way dumber than they should).
Then there’s the sad reality that none of the characters in the film are really all that interesting, Cal himself included. Dr. Rikkin and the conflict with her father is really weak. The Templars’ need for the apple is even undermined in a scene where a Templar Grand Master basically says that the Templars don’t really need the apples yet Jeremy Irons dangling it in front of her just suddenly makes all the difference in the world.
It probably comes as no surprise that I’ve always found the plots of the AssCreed games to be supremely boring and unfortunately the movie manages to dig up everything I find so utterly unenjoyable about it (convoluted story setups, a machine based on hokey science and bland protagonists fighting even blander antagonists). AssCreed can be entertaining when you look at solely its visual components but its plot and characters are just painfully weak.
Fans of the game might get something out of it. Everyone else will probably just left scratching their heads at the finale, wondering “what the hell did I just watch?”
Rating: 2½ out of 5
- +2½ The visuals and action scenes
- -2½ The plot and characters