Tony's Take

ASSASSIN’S CREED review

assassins-creed-final-posterThey Work in the Dark to Serve the Light

Based on the extremely popular video game series, “Assassin’s Creed” follows the 15th Century group of assassins, led by Aguilar de Nerha, who work to protect a sacred object, the Apple of Eden.  An artifact the stores the power of mankind’s free will, holding control over their thoughts, actions, and feelings.  These assassins work to keep secrets hidden, in a constant fight against their age-old enemy, the Templars.  Back in the present: Cal Lynch, a man about to be put to death for murder, is accepting of his fate.  However, he wakes to find that he is not dead, but that he is in a research facility in Madrid for unknown reasons.  Unbeknownst to him, Abstergo Industries (Founded by Alan Rikkin, and his daughter Sofia) have hunted-him down and is their last remaining hope of securing the Apple of Eden.  To do so, Cal must be placed in the Animus; a virtual reality advancement that allows other to relive the memories of their ancestors seeing, hearing, and feeling them.  Upon learning of his ancestral connection to Aguilar and living-out his life, Cal also begins to realize that Abstergo may not have been entirely truthful.

Michael Fassbender stars as Cal Lynch and his ancestral assassin, Aguilar de Nerha.  While Fassbender excels with his assassin role, he doesn’t have much to do while outside of it.  Marion Cotillard plays a young scientist who created the Animus Project and the daughter of Alan (the Founder of the Abstergo Foundation), Sofia Rikkin.  Jeremy Irons plays her father and the CEO of Abstergo Industries and its private sector Abstergo Foundation, Alan Rikkin.  Brendan Gleeson has a small role as Cal’s father, Joseph Lynch.  Charlotte Rampling plays the Leader of the Elders who Alan must report to, Ellen Kaye.  Michael K. Williams plays another test subject, a descendant of a Haitian assassin named Baptise, Moussa.  Ariane Labed plays Maria, another assassin who worked alongside Aguilar in 15th Century Spain.  Matias Varela portrays Emir and his assassin ancestor, Yusuf.  Michelle Lin plays another test subject named Lin.  Denis Ménochet plays McGowen, the Head of Abstergo Security.

“Assassin’s Creed” does a solid job of laying the groundwork for what’s to come, but its poor visual effects and repetition hold it back from becoming the film we all hoped it would be.  In a World where video game adaptations often (if not always) fail, “Assassin’s Creed” was hoping to end the negative streak.  The film’s stylistic action was very entertaining, all of the jumps, tracking-shots, and fights were well choreographed.  The style of the assassins was very cool to see, as was the backdrops to their war, 15th Century Spain.  The big issue with them was how painfully obvious it was to see how the shot was created.  So many stunts and maneuvers were visually sped-up and fake looking that it really took you out of the film.  The film’s storyline, while not exactly following the “Ubisoft” version, was very well done.  It kept me thoroughly-entertained and constantly guessing, patiently awaiting the next trip back to the Animus.  The moments in present time, however, were very repetitive and slow-paced, causing the film to get a little stale.  There are only so many things that we need spelled-out for us, we can make certain connections on our own!  Fassbender really brought the assassin to life, something that was desperately needed for any of the film to work.  The film’s supporting cast, led by Cotillard, Williams, and Irons, added more intrigue and the hope of seeing some of the characters again.  And while I may have never played and “Assassin’s Creed” game, there are plenty of noticeable “easter eggs” that fans will undoubtedly pick-up.  “Assassin’s Creed” has a run time of 115 minutes and it unfortunately suffers while outside of Aguilar’s story.  While not the film many were hoping it to be, “Assassin’s Creed” delivers the action goods while managing to tell a good story.  A story that I actually find myself hoping to see more of.  Also I can safely say that, while it does have many problems, “Assassin’s Creed” is the best video game adaptation to-date!

“Assassin’s Creed” follows a man as he learns of his connection to an ancient group of assassins, possibly holding the key to a very important and fought-for artifact.  The film features plenty of stylistic fighting, some entertaining action sequences, and a very interesting story.  There are many better films that are releasing this week and weekend that are more worthy of your money, but if you’re a fan of the video game series, go see “Assassin’s Creed”!

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ASSASSIN’S CREED is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, thematic elements and brief strong language, in theaters DECEMBER 21ST!

 

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