The director (Justin Kurzel) and stars (Fassbender, Cotillard) of 2015’s acclaimed Macbeth reunite for this video game adaptation, unfortunately with less stellar results.
Based on the popular Assassin’s Creed series – it’s a spin-off of sorts featuring a new protagonist but some familiar supporting characters for fans of the game – this adventure focuses on Callum Lynch (Fassbender), a prisoner on present-day death row who is saved by a mysterious corporation who need him to be hooked up to a crane-like machine called the Animus, that explores past memories of a subject’s ancestors. It seems that Callum is descended from Aguilar, who was part of a secret assassin society during the 15th century who vowed to protect a powerful artefact called the Apple of Eden from falling into the hands of the Knights Templar, who want to use it to do Bad Things.
With Cotillard as the scientist hooking Fassbender up to the machine and Irons as her boss/dad, this certainly has some heavyweight acting talent on board. Unfortunately, not one of them is given much to work with, as none of the characters are given any depth whatsoever. We know that Callum saw his dad murder his mum, and that he was being executed for killing a pimp (erm, what? why? who?) but it’s very hard to care about his fate when we know nothing else about him at all.
At least the sets and locations are impressive, but it doesn’t help that the action set in them is filmed as if the entire movie was edited through a shredder. Apparently the film contains a record-breaking free fall by one of the stuntmen, but there are so many quick cuts during the action sequences that you probably won’t spot it, especially as the screen is often so dim and smoky you’ll be too busy working out which running/jumping/stabbing figure in the crowd is actually Michael Fassbender.
While fans of the game may get a kick out of real humans pummelling and leaping on the big screen just like the digital figures, anyone sitting down expecting a fully fleshed out movie, with interesting characters, a coherent plot, enjoyable adventure and – dare we say it – a bit of fun (this movie is so po-faced we think the actors were fined if they accidentally cracked a smile) will be disappointed. As video game adaptations go, file it under Better Than Warcraft but Not As Good As Tomb Raider.
Is Assassin’s Creed suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This film is a 12A certificate, with numerous characters stabbed, punched, etc, so is not suitable for younger children. While there are a lot of fights, blood is only shown in a few instances.
Parents should note that the main character is shown to be executed by lethal injection in an early scene.
If you like this, why not try: