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Review - Assassins Creed

By midlandsmovies, Jan 7 2017 09:20AM

Assassin’s Creed (2017) Dir. Justin Kurzel

After 2015’s Macbeth no less, director Kurzel jumps from an adaptation of the Bard to adapting a video game as he once again teams with the lead of the former, Michael Fassbender.

Never having played the video game on which this movie is based (and less than Mark Kermode, I haven’t even seen people playing it), the film has Fassbender’s soon-to-be-executed Callum Lynch kidnapped to take part in the experimental ‘Animus Project’. Here, Callum is hooked to a machine whereby he enters one of his ancestor’s mind and body as part of the Assassin's Brotherhood in the 15th Century to help search for the “Apple of Eden”. We’re DEFINITELY in video game territory here!

Also from Macbeth is Marion Cottilard as the project’s head scientist who regresses Callum back in time to take on the Spanish Inquisition (cue Monty Python jokes). I am sure there are huge connections with the game itself and unlike the terribly convoluted and impenetrable Warcraft, here the (relatively) simple set up allows casual and non-gamers to get up to speed quickly with the world and characters of the universe.

Some so-so action sequences with the usual CGI armies are littered throughout but kudos should go to the real-life locations, the old-school horse stunts and the inclusion of parkour where risky jumps between buildings have a realism and weight to them. A few directorial flourishes to visually display the protagonists’ state-of-mind lingered the most in this viewer’s mind along with the ‘time-machine’ itself, which pirouettes the future Fassbender around – mimicking his fights back in the past.

In the pantheon of video games adaptations, the film sits comfortably near the top but it has such little competition ( Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia and definitely not *that* Mario Bros film) it’s faint praise indeed. Whether it’s Mario collecting coins or Assassins finding ‘Apples’, video games’ inherent ‘do-that-and-be-rewarded-with-this’ may always be their movie downfall as despite better graphics on modern consoles, the format is essentially the same and based around interactivity rather than story. This could be changing as the world of games increasingly uses cut-scenes and cinematic tricks but for now the films have a habit of disappointing both gamers and film fans.

Acting wise, everyone sleepwalks through this and I can only assume director Kurzel had such fun on the set of Macbeth with Fassbender and Cottilard that they all thought it would be fun to do something a little less serious. And less serious it is. An inconsequential adventure b-movie, Assassins Creed will distract for a few hours with innovative fights and a unique concept but the whole thing could have done with an injection of fun like the knockabout Prince of Persia. Generally taking itself far too seriously – which is the norm nowadays as a shortcut to being earnest and epic – the film will satisfy younger viewers with a mix of running, jumping and fighting although for the rest it’s a solid action flick but little more.


Midlands Movies Mike

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