Action-packed and true to the games (almost to a fault), Assassin’s Creed is most likely going to either amuse or confuse you. The difference will depend on your level of familiarity with the games.
The premise is that back in the 15th century, the Knights Templar and the Church sought something called the Apple of Eden which, we’re told, gives its possessor the ability to wipe out human free will. It was in the hands of the last sultan to hold power in Muslim Spain, under the protection of the Assassins, a group of defenders who vow to fight to the death to prevent the Apple from falling the wrong hands.
In the present, a Templar project headed by Rikkin (Irons) and his daughter Sofia (Cotillard) has been looking for descendants of the old Assassins and then send them back into the minds of their ancestors in hopes of discovering what became of the Apple. Their latest subject is a murderer named Cal Lynch (Fassbender), who is spirited away from Texas to Spain after his execution. There he is resuscitated and made to go back in time thought the Animus.
Drawing from the tone and story elements of AC1 & AC2, this movie stay very close to his source material. If you are unfamiliar with the Apple of Eden, the Animus, and Abstergo, I imagine that this is one confusing movie to follow. Looking at all the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes is proving more or less my point here.
The most successful aspect of this engaging enterprise is the parallel imagery between Cal Lynch (Fassbender) strapped into the present-day Matrix-like Animus machine (compare to just a dull spa bed in the games) while also reenacting history through his glorious Spanish ancester, performing elaborate sword fights, carriage chases and close hand-to-hand skirmishes across tiled rooftops. Coupled with the incredible Parkour-inspired stunts, the director insists on keeping the CGI in check for the feel of an old school adventure and executes the action with a great deal of care and attention to detail.
Something to add, Assassin’s Creed‘s historical scenes are entirely in Spanish; which may seem a big risk for a major studio to take with a film, but it pays off beautifully – adding the necessary grit of authenticity to this tale.
- The action sequences are perfectly synch with the games… and the parkour is just amazing!
- The integrity of the game world is well preserved, if altered only slightly to be more visually appealing (the Animus).
- The visual aesthetic of the game is also preserved, clashing the muted, warm tones of the memory’s world with the harsh cool blues and whites in the present Abstergo lab setting.
- The soundtrack is blaring and often doesn’t fit the feel of the scene well… WTF is that generic rock song at the begin ???
- Not enough scenes in Spain in the 15th century
- The ending is hummm…. something is missing…
Rating: 8/ 10
“Assassin’s Creed” will be polarizing and the question is simple… Are you a fan of the games or not? Because Assassin’s Creed does what it has to do for its target audiece, but isn’t likely to reach much more out beyond that.