The movie adaptation of Ubisoft’s popular gaming franchise fails in its attempt to please long-time fans.
Assassin’s Creed: The Movie came after a hit franchise of 9 core video games, side games and comic book series. Naturally, expectation was sky high. But the ambitious, star-studded game-to-film adaptation is unfortunately a letdown.
The film features Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse, Steve Jobs, Macbeth) as protagonist Callum Lynch and his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha. Lynch is a death row inmate who’s saved from his execution to relive the adventures of his ancestor, a master assassin in 15th century Spain. Helping to unlock his genetic memory is scientist Sophia Rikkin, played by Marion Cotillard (Allied, The Dark Knight Rises, Macbeth).
While the film is based on the universe created by Ubisoft, its characters and story-lines are brand new. Director Justin Kurzel and his team try to spice things up by introducing a parallel narrative which flashes between Michael Fassbender’s present and past lives, but this ends up turning what could have been a sleek action adventure flick into a slow, convoluted and over-plotted slog.
Fans of the video game franchise would also find it disappointing that the thrilling parkour [a training discipline involving military obstacle courses] sequences which they are excited about has only fleeting screen time in the film. Instead, they would have to bear with the long speeches of Templar grandiose which they probably cannot be bothered with.
The new characters also feel underdeveloped, which is a shame, as the screenwriters have all the creative freedom to make them work. Series fan Ashikin Ali, 19, said: “The characters came off flat. There’s no proper explanation for Callum’s criminal wrongdoing besides hinting at his tragic past, while Sophia spends all the time trying to explain and push the story forward instead of showcasing her character.”
While Assassin’s Creed is a dissatisfying watch, the upside is: it’s yet to kill our hope for a better sequel. Let’s look forward to one that is more well-rounded – with more developed characters and a better balance between actions and dialogues.
Release Date: 22 December 2016
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Runtime: 116 minutes
Language: English & Spanish (with English subtitles)
Censorship Rating: PG13
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Justin Kurzel
Main Actors: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Michael K. Williams.
Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox.