Assassins Creed begins with a brief set-up in 1492 about the Order of the Knights Templar, then moves on to 1986 showing Callum Lynch as a kid on a bike in 1986, after his mother has been murdered, we speed forward again by 30 years on to the present day – well, almost. It’s October 21st 2016. Cal (as Michael Fassbender) is on Death Row and about to meet his maker… but that’s what will happen to the person who commissioned this dross as it cost $125m to make and only took $10m in its opening 4-day weekend!
Anyhoo, he’s dead, but he’s not. He’s not even resting, because he’s now employed by Abstergo Industries to go through the Animus and back to 1492 to save a child in the first tedious CGI-filled action scene of 2017.
But why him? Because his bloodline goes back over 500 years to that mysterious and secret society, the Assassins, and the machine in which he spends his time allows him to go back to that time, as his ancestor, Aguilar.
I find the videogame series hit and miss, but the best bit is when you’re running about, doing the parkour thing, leaping across rooftops in a single bounce. It can be quite a joy, unlike the initial release of Assassins Creed: Unity on the PC, where my character got stuck in mid-air.
2015’s second Hitman movie was even more wide of the mark from the first because it strayed from the game’s path by trying to be clever and having Agent 47 shooting loudly and proudly in broad daylight, whereas he’s intentionally discreet in the game. Here, there’s less running and jumping, and more navel-gazing about protecting the apple. Perhaps I missed the entry in the series which went into detail about that, but in the movie, it’s a big thing as he ponders his new life amongst the industrial but stone-clad near-future-type prison-that’s-not-a-prison (confused? Don’t sweat it. This movie just makes it all up as it goes along)
There’s only two other main cast members, in the present day: Sofia (Marion Cotillard) and Rikkin (Jeremy Irons) – as Cal’s mentor and her father – may as well just have one line to the script: “Cheque, please!”
Well, she says one other thing – “Prepare the Animus!”, but it sounds more like “Prepare the enemas!”
Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling and The Wire‘s Michael Kenneth Williams also pop up briefly, and are similarly uninspiring in this.
Now, why is Cal flailing about in the present day in a waist-constricting device that reminds me of Kenneth Cranham’s head-attachment in Hellbound: Hellraiser II? your characters are asleep in the games, or at least under the influence. Everyone prefers seeing the game take place in the past, so why does it need to keep showing the present? Just completely jars with what everyone’s come to see. Okay, the game does that, too, but it’s annoying there, as well!
And when you compare the actions in the Animus with that in the past, there’s no way it can move him around that quickly. Plus, how does he do a forward roll in the Animus? He can’t, surely?! IT MAKES NO SENSE!
Hence, the Assassins Creed movie does all the things that the game annoys you, and none of the things you like. In fact, I didn’t think Fassbender could make a worse movie than 2014’s Frank, but he managed it.
to save making it up on the hoof.
A lot of people have moaned that this film is a child-friendly 12A, while the games are a 15-certificate. Yes, the latter are more blood-thirsty, but then the games also feature a lot of action, while this film contains a lot of people standing around, pontificating, and when they do try to kick ass – it does feel quite violent at times, the blows land just off-camera and/or you don’t see the blade enter the flesh. As such, I really can’t see who they thought it would appeal to. It won’t satisfy the fans of the game who like its action, and it won’t attract new fans to the game because it’s such a lacklustre movie. Hence, I’m glad that with the poor box-office receipts, Hollywood has been sent the message that audiences just won’t stand for this sort of crap any more.
About the only positive is that it has nice locations – as it was filmed in Spain and Malta but then so did Judith Chalmers’ TV show, Wish You Were Here.
I saw this film in 2D. 3D won’t add anything that basic perspective won’t show, and it wasn’t shot in 3D anyway. Even when the games tried a 3D mode with Assassins Creed III on PC doing this on-the-fly, this mode must’ve been so little-used that it never reared its head again.
The Assassins Creed movie makes an early bid straight into my Top 10 Worst Films of 2017!
Running time: 115 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K) (6.5K), Digital Intermediate (4K), Anamorphic Panavision, Panavision Super 70, Redcode RAW(6K))
Released: January 1st 2017
Director: Justin Kurzel
Producers: Jean-Julien Baronnet, Patrick Crowley, Michael Fassbender, Gérard Guillemot, Frank Marshall, Conor McCaughan and Arnon Milchan
Screenplay: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage
Music: Jed Kurzel
Cal Lynch / Aguilar: Michael Fassbender
Sofia: Marion Cotillard
Rikkin: Jeremy Irons
Joseph Lynch: Brendan Gleeson
Ellen Kaye: Charlotte Rampling
Moussa: Michael K Williams
McGowen: Denis Menochet
Maria: Ariane Labed
Sultan Muhammad XII: Khalid Abdalla
Mary Lynch: Essie Davis
Emir: Matias Varela
Nathan: Callum Turner
Benedicto: Carlos Bardem
Tomas de Torquemada: Javier Gutiérrez
Ojeda: Hovik Keuchkerian
Samia: Crystal Clarke
Lin: Michelle H Lin
Young Joseph: Brian Gleeson
General Ramirez: Julio Jordan
Alex: Rufus Wright
Young Cal: Angus Brown
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.