116 minutes (12A)
There are things not even Magneto himself can save. Assassin’s Creed, which was one of the most awaited video-game-to-big-screen releases of the decade, falls flat despite having a promising plot.
The Australian Justin Kurzel, who directed Academy Award nominees Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in last year’s visual masterpiece Macbeth, reunited his two Shakespearean actors again to attempt what could have been the Holy Grail of video game films, but instead turns out to be a mediocre action pastiche.
Fassbender plays Cal Lynch, a man tormented by the murder of his mother at the hands of his own father, who is saved from capital death by Abstergo, an industry led by Alan Rikkin (Jeremy Irons) and his daughter Sophia (Cotillard). Cal is the descendant of Aguilar, a Spanish Assassin from the 15th century who was the last person to know the location of the Apple of Eden, protected by the Assassin’s Creed and sought after by the Templars. It is now up to Cal to revive Aguilar’s memories to find where the Apple is.
For fans of the video game, this film will be a pleasure to watch. Extremely faithful to the original, the action sequences in particular look like they are taken straight out of the game, with impressive landscapes and fights.
But beyond that, the film never settles. It is just a bunch of scenes of Cal revisiting Aguilar’s life with an abrupt climax that seems too forced to spawn a sequel in the near future. Instead of making audiences long for a next film, it leaves them cheated and without the ending they deserve.
Nonetheless, it’s not the actors’ fault. Fassbender and Cotillard do their best with what they are given, and at least the casting team made the right choice (that we seldom see in Hollywood films) of casting actual Spanish actors to play the Spanish parts and speaking their own language instead of English with an accent –even if the location crew got Seville and Granada a bit mixed up.
Assassin’s Creed could have been so much more. It could have become a movie worthy of a sequel people would pay to go and see, but after this one, that second film is highly unlikely. Best to stick to playing the video game instead.