Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons
Director: Justin Kurzel
Running Time: 116 mins
Assassin’s Creed is an American film about a criminal who, after being executed, is brought back to life and used to tap into the memories of his ancestor from the 15th Century, he discovers the history of the secret Assassins society.
The most important thing to know before reading this review is that I’ve never played any of the Assassin’s Creed games, nor have I ever felt any desire to. That said, there are all sorts of video game movies that have entertained me even when I’ve never been invested in the world before.
Assassin’s Creed isn’t one of those movies, because it’s an utter mess. Committing one of the worst sins an action blockbuster can do, it’s simply tedious from start to finish, consistently failing to grab my attention at any moment, and never even trying to do something original or exciting to save the desperately falling wreckage from ending in a fiery ball of disappointment.
What’s even more unfathomable is that there’s so much talent here. Lead actors Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard have put in countless brilliant and exciting performances, but they just look bored out of their mind in this movie, as if there’s some sort of contractual obligation that requires them to say all this ridiculous dialogue for two hours. Although it seems like the action scenes give Fassbender a little bit of energy, I have to say that the performances here don’t do much to lift the film from its darkest depths, although a lot of that isn’t actually their fault.
Another person who might get away with less criticism based on past form is director Justin Kurzel. The maker of the visually striking Macbeth, also starring Fassbender and Cotillard, I know that Kurzel can do so much better, and although some of the stylistic elements of the portrayal of 15th Century Spain are somewhat interesting, the way he handles the action sequences in such a frantic manner, and doesn’t do much to make the transition between the 2016 setting and 15th Century setting less jerky.
But if there’s anyone really at fault, then it’s the screenwriters, who’ve put out a really tedious mess with Assassin’s Creed. Video game adaptations are notoriously difficult to get right, but the ‘best’ of them (Resident Evil/Lara Croft etc.) have been able to entertain you with a more light-hearted and silly atmosphere. However, Assassin’s Creed takes itself incredibly seriously, and doesn’t back that up with a well-written screenplay.
I can always accept a harder, more serious take on a fantasy premise, but that’s only if you’ve got a story that’s both convincing and consistently interesting. Here, the plot (for someone who’s never known anything about the video games) comes off as totally ridiculous, and because the film plods along at a tedious pace, always switching back between past and present as it gets further submerged in the mud created by itself, there’s no reason to care about what’s actually going on, making for a more and more boring watch as it goes on and on.
Overall, I was completely bored by Assassin’s Creed. It’s an empty and stupid film with a story that fails to capture your attention or imagination at any moment, and despite featuring a great display of talent, doesn’t give them a chance to shine, meaning that it’s a consistently underwhelming and tedious watch, which is why I’m giving it a 4.6.