ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Assassin's Creed (2016)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Justin Kurzel

Starring:
Michael Fassbender/Callum/Aguilar de Nerha
Marion Cotillard/Sophia
Jeremy Irons/Alan Rikkin
Brendan Gleeson/Joseph
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) a prisoner on death row is put to death and wakes, not in hell, but alive and imprisoned by some shady organization. Ya see, they faked his death (La Femme Nikita style) so they could hook him up to a machine that will have him see through the eyes of his ancestor; a 15th-century Assassin named Aguilar (also Fassbender). All that jive was concocted in the name of finding out where the latter hid some mysterious object called the Apple of Eden. You get all that? Lots of running, kicking, jumping, arrow slinging and sword slashing ensures.
THE LOWDOWN

This movie was perfect timing for this twat as I have been doing research on the Templars for a film project now of late, and somehow that led me to the ASSASSIN'S CREED videogame which I started playing on my down time to cut the edge and switch off. Hence I was pretty pumped for this adaptation and taking into account the immense talent behind it, I was expecting something more than your average “video game to movie” effort. Did I get it? Well… kind of!

When I came out of my early ASSASSIN'S CREED screening, I was the only one with a stupid smile on my face. Everybody around me was scowling. In the minority again – what else is new!? Personally it was swell to see that they kept to the basics of the game story wise. Some dude with a family tree of badasses is taken by a cooperation and hooked to a machine called the “The Animus” (now a metal arm), a device that lets him go and live through his ancestor’s life in the name of finding “The Apple of Eden”. Fassbender (who's also a producer on the movie) said this about their intent: "We really want to respect the game and the elements to it. But we also wanted to come up with our own thing. And one thing I’ve sort of learned from doing the franchises like X-Men is that audiences, I think, want to be surprised and to see new elements of what they already know, and different takes on it." And that’s exactly what they did! They simplified the intricate story of the game (which really goes gonzo game after game) while keeping to its essence (the flick was also very somber... nice) and pimping out all the goodies (weapons, varied settings, costumes, themes) that makes the game (and now the movie) cool as f*ck. And for the first hour or so; it was acing it!

As helmed by the very visual Justin Kurzel (who did the excellent MACBETH update, also with Fassbender) ASSASSIN’S CREED was one sumptuous looking movie with the scenes set during the time of the Spanish Inquisition totally blowing me away in terms of attention to details (sets, costumes, props etc.), fly camera work (all about them areal shots – yes the Eagle from the game is here too), eye popping stunts (most of them were done in camera - using practical effects - respect) and the scope of it all. On their end; the bits in the present were compelling too with a sterile and futuristic-ish vibe that clashed beautifully with the past scenes. And I was mucho engaged by the happenings in both timeframes. The present was all about Callum's (Fassbender) journey (adored his relationship with Cotillard's Sophia) whilst the past (that saw our leads speak Spanish with subtitles – dug that) delivered the INSANE action and in spades at that! All kinds of hand-to-hand fights, sword fights, arrow slinging and of course jaw dropping “parkour” sequences were tossed my way and they echoed the game ideally. I couldn't get enough!

The actors on hand also upped my enjoyment. Michael Fassbender was a force to reckon with as our present day hardass and his past counterpart. The lad gave an intense, affable and physical performance that reminded me once more as to why Fassbender simply f*cking owns. The hypnotizingly beautiful Marion Cotillard, the stoic Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson (small role), Charlotte Rampling (also small role), and Michael K. Williams (comic relief) also brought cred to the flick. But for me, it was Ariane Labed as the silent but deadly assassin Maria, that stole the show. She didn’t say much, but the camera loved her and she whooped that ass with class! Add to all that some impact-ful slow motion scenes, trippy visuals when both realities overlapped, a jaw dropping “leap of faith” free fall (one of the highest falls done by a stuntman in 35 years") a gripping score (by the director’s brother Jed Kurzel) and an easy pace and you get a flick that was so doing it for me hence it’s a such a bummer what happened after the first two acts…

It ran out of gas. Ya see, during the middle section; I felt that the information was a bit “vague” (Like WHY did his mother have to die again?). Don’t get me wrong I got an idea of what was what, who was who and why so and so were there -  but more overall meat would have been swell (I am a simpleton after all). So I expected the last act to give me further 411 while upping the ante on itself. Unfortunately, the total opposite elbow-dropped. The finale was rushed, ended abruptly and was limp compared to the awesomeness that preceded it and it wound up upping my confusion as opposed to clarifying shit for my one brain cell. As the end credits rolled I kept thinking: “this had Studio going heavy on the scissors in the cutting room” written all over it.

I am certain there was once more of a movie here and that they shaved it down in the name of having more screenings. The thing needed a good extra 20-minute to it in my useless opinion. Hopefully some kind of Unrated Director’s Cut will see the light of day down the beaten path. And if that happens, I will buy the disk, cause the finale aside, I was loving ASSASSIN'S CREED! The look, the coolness of it all, the zany action, the top notch cast, the killer music, the exciting stunt work... it was all there! Too bad they dropped the apple at the end...

GORE
We get lots of violence but without the blood. Damn PG 13…
T & A
No nudity but I can stare in Marion Cotillard’s soulful eyes for days on end. Damn she's a pretty lady!
BOTTOM LINE
I dig the game and the flick did enough right by me to wow me and entertain my sorry ass. And that’s why I go see films like this – to forget my troubles for a buck and a half and have fun! ASSASSIN'S CREED delivered in the stylish visuals, stand-out acting, striving practical stunt work and in the balls-out action departments! It had a swift pace, a bleak feel (like the game), lots of coolness (costumes, weapons, settings) and I was having a hoot. Bummer that there wasn’t more meat in the middle and that the last act was rushed, “meh” and ended abruptly. I smell a Director’s Cut down the road and if is that’s the case – I’ll so watch it again! With that spin-kicked, I do hope it makes money this weekend cause I’d so be down for a sequel. Off to hang back and play some Creed! Who's in?
BULL'S EYE
Alicia Vikander was in talks to play Maria in the film but did Jason Bourne instead. Ariane Labed was cast instead.

The flick was shot in Malta.

Olivia Munn wanted to be in the film at some point.
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11:33PM on 12/22/2016

Much more accurate

I also thought the movie was badass. What I find interesting is that this reviewer had played the games and enjoyed the hell out of the movie. The reviewer obviously knew what tone to expect. Unlike Chris over at the JoBlo page, who knew nothing about the games and ripped the movie apart for taking itself too seriously.

I sincerely hope this movie performs well enough to earn the sequel it clearly intended to set up. I want to know what occurs next!
I also thought the movie was badass. What I find interesting is that this reviewer had played the games and enjoyed the hell out of the movie. The reviewer obviously knew what tone to expect. Unlike Chris over at the JoBlo page, who knew nothing about the games and ripped the movie apart for taking itself too seriously.

I sincerely hope this movie performs well enough to earn the sequel it clearly intended to set up. I want to know what occurs next!
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