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Assassin’s Creed Movie Review

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2016: The year Assassin’s Creed had a crawl and Star Wars didn’t. Isn’t that how you know we’re in a weird time for movies? Anyways, I was looking forward to Assassin’s Creed for a long time. I hated Warcraft, but I was hoping that Assassin’s Creed would be the video game movie that turned the genre’s stigma around forever. I love Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, and I had complete faith in Justin Kurzel. I’ve never finished an Assassin’s Creed game, but I have started it, then realized I was bored, so I left the storyline and just ran around sword-fighting guards. You can’t really make an NBA 2K video game movie, so I’ll probably never have game experience coming into a video game movie. I had a little bit for Assassin’s Creed, but nothing to brag about. Let’s talk about Assassin’s Creed!

Assassin’s Creed is directed by Justin Kurzel and stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons. Callum Lynch, an inmate on death row for murder, travels back in time to the 1400s to recover the memories of his ancestor. He must dig deep into these memories to help the Templars recover the Apple of Eden, an ancient artifact with the power to control the free will of mankind.

Well, Assassin’s Creed is right on par with all other video game movies. In that, I mean that it’s just not good. It’s not even that it’s not as good as I wanted it to be. It’s just bad. I will start with the positives I had with the movie because I did have a couple. First of all, everything in the film that takes place in the 1400s is great. It’s pretty much exactly what I wanted out of this movie. We saw all of the parkour and live-action visuals that perfectly nailed a lot of the animations from the game. This movie did a great job with putting the video game on-screen. I wish the entire film took place in the 1400s and we saw a movie that was exclusively the action pieces of Assassin’s Creed as compared to the drama. That leads me into my next positive which was the action. Justin Kurzel directed the action extremely well, and that’s why I’ll continue to look forward to films from him. There are moments in the film that even lead me to believe that maybe he would be right in his wheelhouse with a Mad Max movie. I think his color palette, direction, and take on action would fit right in for the Mad Max universe. Finally, the production design its great! Visually, the movie is absorbing, and the costumes and settings really draw you into the world.

Unfortunately, the negatives far outweigh the positives, so I’m going to have to talk about those, too. Everything in the present day is extremely confusing and extremely boring. At no point did I really get invested in what was happening, and the drama is so dry and flat. I didn’t need this movie to have a great story. I just wanted great action, but instead of giving us a movie full of action, it threw tons of nonsensical drama into a nonsensical plot with a nonsensical McGuffin. As powerful as I assume The Apple is, it’s never explained, and we never even see how powerful it can be. How am I supposed to buy into how important The Apple is if I never get to see it at the height of its powers? On top of these things, it’s just as poorly written as any typical video game movie, and it has so many misfitting lines with misfitting characters churning out lines that don’t help me comprehend the narrative any better. I didn’t care about the characters, and there was nothing to make me grab onto the story. My biggest problem in the film was everything that happened in the present day. It’s flat, uninteresting, and doesn’t serve a purpose. Even when we see the great action in the 1400s, it cuts back and forth from present to past, and it’s jarring. Even more than jarring, it’s annoying. I just want to see Assassins at work, and the convoluted plot keeps straying further and further away from that.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed is right on par with all video game movies. Unfortunately, in this genre, “on par” means “bad,” as compared to “average.” I didn’t dislike it as much as I disliked Warcraft, but it’s boring and nonsensical with a McGuffin that I didn’t buy into whatsoever. I didn’t care about any of the characters, and I wouldn’t even call these great performances from some of the best actors of today in Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons. If I was grading for effort, Assassin’s Creed would get a 10/10, but effort does not always equal quality, and this movie is a prime example. Every time the film cuts to the present, I completely check out, and I even get annoyed. This isn’t even in the category of “Fun Video Game Movies.” It’s just bland, and makes no sense. I’m going to give Assassin’s Creed a 3/10.

Just as a side note, it felt strange to see Ubisoft before a movie began instead of a game. It wasn’t bad, but it felt a little strange. Will you be checking out Assassin’s Creed? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! What is your favorite video game movie? I know there aren’t many good ones, but at least movies like Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider are fun to watch. As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

All images courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm