Direction: Justin Kurzel
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard
Rating: 2.5 / 5
On the evidence of this leaden fantasy, it’s apparent that the wait for a truly effective videogame-to-big screen adaptation is likely to be a long one.
Based on the mega-popular action-adventure game series of the same name, which has had over 90 million sales in the last decade, Assassin’s Creed reunites Michael Fassbender (who has also co-produced the movie) and Marion Cotillard with Justin Kurzel, the Australian filmmaker who previously directed them in Macbeth (2015).
The film stays faithful to the source material and transports us back and forth in time from contemporary America and 15th-century Spain to relate the quest for a spherical thingamajig capable of suppressing the violent tendencies of mankind.
Fassbender plays a death-row inmate who gets a chance to relive events from the life of his ancestor (Fassbender again), a member of an elite band of assassins at the time of the Spanish Inquisition.
The unintelligible script merely serves as a pretext to unleash a maelstrom of destruction and mayhem.
To the film’s credit, the action sequences are choreographed with panache. Ditto for the terrific parkour stunts over the rooftops of ancient Madrid.
However, the use of 3D is unwarranted, rendering the settings and backdrops murkier than intended and often making it difficult to figure out what’s going on even in the foreground.
Worse, there are far too many artsy flourishes, and the wall-to-wall background score by the director’s younger brother, Jed Kurzel, is importunate.
In the lead roles, both Fassbender and Cotillard fail to bring any sense of fun to the cheesy proceedings. Regrettably, redoubtable actors like Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling are also given short shrift.
A marginal improvement over earlier adventures spawned by videogames (Mortal Kombat, Prince of Persia, etc), Assassin’s Creed at least merits a viewing.
Watch the trailer for Assassin’s Creed here