Assassin’s Creed movie review: Even Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard can't save this film

Mihir Fadnavis

Dec 30, 2016 15:47:13 IST


Movies based on video games have had an awful track record. They’re difficult to make primarily because they’re based on games that are based on movies in the first place, so the quality of a third generation product is by default diluted. The other reason why these films suck is that they are generally written, directed and performed by third-rate artists – if you check out the filmography of a man named Uwe Boll you’ll quickly be up to speed with what I mean.

With Assassin’s Creed I really thought the trend of awful video game movies would finally change considering the terrific star cast of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and the most excellent director Justin Kurzel. These three also made last year’s fascinating Macbeth adaptation, and I was sure this film would offer at least some classy entertainment. Unfortunately Assassin’s Creed is a film that is good looking for sure, but it takes itself too seriously and leaves you severely underwhelmed and kind of bored.

Assassin’s Creed movie review: Even Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard cant save this film

Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottilard in Assasin's Creed.

Fassbender plays Callum, a man on death row who is given a lethal injection but wakes up an unknown amount of time later in a strange medical research facility in Madrid. A man named Alan (Jeremy Irons) and his daughter Sophia (Cotillard) run this facility with a secret agenda of chasing an artifact called the Apple of Eden. Callum is supposedly a descendant of a 15th century Assassin who possessed the artifact and Alan is determined to tap into Callum’s memories to find it. It is at this point that the film turns into the game, shifting to the Spanish Inquisition where Aguilar (Fassbender again) does all the video gamey stunts.

To be fair the film does an incredible job of recreating the look and feel of the games – if sheer dedication to the source material could earn Oscars this film would get all of them. Aguilar’s parkour like running and jumping over rooftops is pretty cool and Adam Arkapaw’s cinematography makes this movie really look like a gigantic blockbuster.

The problem arises when the film constantly flips between the past and the present as the chase for the Apple becomes quite ambiguous and exasperating. There’s some unintentional hilarity to be found when Fassbender in the present mimics the actions of the medieval Fassbender – it feels like watching someone at a mall’s gaming store hooked to a virtual reality set. Moreover the character development is reduced to zero as the film mostly focuses on the big thrills, and you end up caring about none of the people in the story.

The other annoyance is that the fight sequences are executed with 10,000 cuts and shaky camera – rendering the intricately choreographed stunts completely useless. This is not a Bourne movie and you want to see how Aguilar kicks ass, so every random close up and jittery cut makes your teeth grind. It does feel as if this is a movie made by people who are adept at drama but aren’t very well versed with how to shoot action movies. With Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed both performing a belly flop Hollywood has blown its chances of turning video game movies into a mainstream genre. Suddenly the prospects for Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft movie don’t look too good.

Updated Date: Sep 19, 2017 15:20:36 IST