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    December 24, 2016


    After last year’s under-rated “Macbeth”, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and director Justin Kurzel reunite in a new movie entitled “Assassin’s Creed" - a somewhat mediocre silver screen adaptation for one of Ubisoft most popular game properties ever.

    Source: 20th Century Fox
    Welcome to the Spanish Inquisition for when the movie is mostly sets. In “Assassin’s Creed", Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is a murderer awaiting execution, only for him to be spared from death and be taken by people from Abstergo Industries. Cal is forced to participate in Project Animus, a high concept scientific experiment led by Dr Sophia Riskin (Marion Cotilard) and her father Alan (Jeremy Irons), that allows its user to relive the memory of their ancestors.

    Cal is strapped onto the machine to go back in the late 15th century as Anguilar de Nerha, a fearsome Assassin during the Spanish Inquisition. While Lynch is strapped on the machine, he gained new skills and knowledge, while also learn that the Abstergo is just a cover front for the modern Knights Templar – an arch enemy of the Assassins. Abstergo has a plan on their hand to force Cal to act as an intermediate to locate the missing artifact known as the Apple of Eden.

    “Assassin’s Creed” is perhaps one of the better movie that draws inspiration from game property, but to be honest, that is a low bar to really impress. But one of the strongest points about this movie is the action scenes, which are quite well-coordinated and choreographed. Collaborating once again with “Macbeth” alum Adam Arkapaw in the cinematography department, the result of these exciting action sequences is an amazing visual treat, as well as stimulating, that goes well against the muted and smoky background of the 15th century Spain.

    Source: Rotten Tomatoes
    Indeed, the story-telling in “Assassin’s Creed” is rather tricky. Where most movies nowadays fail to spark is an effective pay-off at the end of the movie, something that most and many video game-based movies have failed. Interestingly, “Assassin’s Creed” goes through some rough and bumpy ride to serve a somewhat good pay-off in the end, which should do enough to help to spark a more exciting future struggle between the Assassins and Templars. The movie takes almost an hour to deliver an overall exposition to serve the casual audiences albeit incoherent. But to be fair, the Assassin’s Creed’s game never has a great story to deal with, so the movie exceeds what the game does.

    For that, it is presented from the perspective of Cal, as we see the transformation from his brutal childhood to death row and to the ultimate fight for redemption. But unfortunately, the narratives of “Assassin’s Creed” are rather crude and can be annoying. It is a shame that the movie goes down very much akin to “The Matrix”, occasionally transporting the story between present day Abstergo and 15th century Spain, the latter is deemed too little. “Assassin’s Creed” should have spent more time in the past, because that is what it should be. The present-day story offers very little to the overall picture, more like a distraction and convolution than serviceable.

    Another aspect lacking in the movie, is that despite it manage to set-up a decent transformation of Cal and the possible modern day war between the remnants of the Assassins and Templars, the character development is very weak. Nothing to suggest the story set-up on Aguilar and his female warrior companion, nor does it give a proper look on these descendants of ancient Assassins – the last act where they plot together to take down the Abstergo comes out nowhere and random. Equally annoying, is the character Sophia Riskin by Marion Cotillard who appears to have abandon her quest of self-enlightenment for no reason towards the end.

    While “Assassin’s Creed” does excel is on the satisfactory pacing, actions and cinematography; it suffers from crude and incoherent storytelling, as well as weak character development (aside of Cal) that only paid-off half. Rating: B (3.0/5.0)

    Info Dashboard:
    Casts: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael K. Williams
    Distributor: 20th Century Fox (in association with Ubisoft)
    Director: Justin Kurzel
    Screenplay: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage; based on Assassin's Creed by Ubisoft
    Rating: P13
    Release date: 22 December 2016
    Running time: 116 minutes
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