Video games have been popular for decades. Those of the ‘older generation’ will recall many happy hours playing ‘Space Invaders’, ‘Pacman’ and others. The years since have seen a smorgasbord of gaming to delight new fans with ‘Assassin’s Creed’ being among the most desired. The ratio of game to screen outings hasn’t been good although audiences always live in hope that the next entry will be worth watching. Sadly the movie version of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is as poor as so many previous attempts as it goes through digitally enhanced motions.
Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is a criminal awaiting execution. On the eve of his fateful moment, he is taken off death row by Abstergo Industries. A new incarnation of an ancient order of Templars, its chief scientist, Sophia (Marion Cottilard) connects Callum to a machine transporting him to a former life as an Assassin. In his new reality, he must search and find the Apple of Eden, an object used to end earth’s seedy corruption. Battling an armada of those opposed to assassins wanting the prized entity, Callum’s skills are tested in a world where reality and fantasy are blurred.
‘Assassin’s Creed’ is a murky mixed bag. High in excitement in its energetic action sequences, it falters in between set pieces. The scenes set in the ‘real world’ make little sense with the ancient world of the assassin’s more involving. Unfortunately the film focusses more on the present than the past. Although it gives needed story exposition, the everyday scenes decrease the script’s pace. Justin Kurzel gamely attempts to infuse excitement in the narrative despite his unfocussed direction.
The best sections of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ are the acting and CGI. Without both the film would have been worse. Fassbender and Cottilard give stronger performances than the screenplay deserves. Their tortured characters add gravitas to the increasingly silly carry-on. Their convictive renditions of often mirthful lines add some punch to the action and special effects which are first rate. As with other similar movies, ‘Assassin’s Creed’ focusses on the surface elements rather than the crucial one of a comprehensible plot.
‘Assassin’s Creed’s failure is more disappointing given its potential. The wrong type of story was chosen to convey the game’s strengths to screen. It still has entertaining moments although it may be better to play the game it’s based on for more genuine thrills.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 5
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.