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Review: Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed
12.20.2016
5 10

PLOT: A death row inmate (Michael Fassbender) is given a reprieve by a mysterious corporation that wants to tap into memories from his past life as a 15th Century Spanish assassin, all in the hopes of finding the “apple of Eden”, which they believe will effectively end violence in mankind.

REVIEW: Video game movies are supposed to be fun, right? Because if so, clearly director Justin Kurzel didn’t get the memo while making ASSASSIN’S CREED, the dreariest, most pretentious video game adaptation ever. While not an embarrassment on the level of something like MAX PAYNE, as Kurzel brings a certain polish and style to the production with the visuals and BBC-ready cast, it’s puzzling anyone thought this essentially goofy premise was worthy of almost prestige-level treatment.

michael fassbender assassin's creed

If it had been made as a period piece, with Fassbender’s Spanish assassin Aguilar as the hero, the movie may well have worked as a kind of heightened period epic – like 300 meets KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Instead, the premise is shackled to a modern-day story where Fassbender’s American hero, Callum Lynch, is made to enter a device called “The Animus”, which allows him to relieve Aguilar’s adventures. Basically, he spends most of the movie playing himself in a videogame he can’t control, making the whole film feel like you’re watching a friend playing one of the Assassin’s Creed videogames, without ever getting a turn for yourself. This is a trap many other videogame adaptations have fallen prey to – notably DOOM.

With the high-end cast, and Kurzel’s well-earned reputation of his MACBETH adaptation, you’d assume this would be a unique adaptation, but the only thing that’s different about it is that it’s utterly humorless and free of even a second of levity. Fassbender goes all-in as Callum-Aguilar, but it feels like a self-indulgent performance, as if to justify his involvement he had to be as stiff and serious as possible, lest anyone think he’d ever do something light. An amazing actor (in the right role), Fassbender is not an ideal action hero despite his physique and good looks. He lacks the twinkle in his eye a good action hero needs, and even a tiny bit of levity would have made the film go down a whole lot easier.

michael fassbender assassin's creed

Still, no one fares especially well here, with Jeremy Irons getting nothing to do but scowl as the doctor in-charge of “The Animus”, while him and his daughter, played by Marion Cotillard (in a similarly thankless role) hide the fact that they’re obviously up to no good. Michael K. Williams briefly injects some life into the film, but even his line delivery seems unnatural at times, such as when he asks Cotilard if she’d “let us free.”

ASSASSIN’S CREED only works during the Spanish Inquisition-set action scenes with Aguilar, with Kurzel giving them a certain sense of chaos, even if that makes them hard to discern at times (there’s an awful lot of swinging, jumping and diving). The best thing is the period production design and the thundering score by Jed Kurzel, which is better than the movie deserves (someone like Ridley Scott would be wise to snap him up for their next period epic). Fassbender is far better as Aguilar than he is as Callum, and his sidekick, played by Ariane Labed, has an interesting presence.

These sequences would almost be enough to keep the movie from going-down as a fail were it not for the terrible third act, which ends the proceedings on confusing note and lacks any kind of climax, save for a very brief battle. It’s trying to set up a sequel that seems unlikely, unless fans turn out in droves over the holidays. Kurzel and Fassbender will both go on to make many more good movies, but neither is a good fit for a piece of escapism, and the film ranks among the year’s biggest disappointments. It could have been pretty good were it not all taken so seriously.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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3:33AM on 01/21/2017

Useless movie

OMG what a crappy movie...
Saw it yesterday. Useless, boring, nothing compared to the videogame saga. Fassbender is a wasted talent in a movie like this, Cotillard in a side role. The script is so dull i almost fell asleep in the middle of the movie...oh wait i don't even remember how it finish... If you wanna watch a good movie from a good videogame go watch WARCRAFT instead.
OMG what a crappy movie...
Saw it yesterday. Useless, boring, nothing compared to the videogame saga. Fassbender is a wasted talent in a movie like this, Cotillard in a side role. The script is so dull i almost fell asleep in the middle of the movie...oh wait i don't even remember how it finish... If you wanna watch a good movie from a good videogame go watch WARCRAFT instead.
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3:47PM on 01/12/2017

BoooOOOooooOOOring movie!

What a bore, aaarrggghh, so uneventful, they needed to give me a bigger bang for my buck. And that whole cliche ridden horse chase, snoresville, right down to seeing the horse carriage falling off a cliff as the hero dangles from the edge....barf.
What a bore, aaarrggghh, so uneventful, they needed to give me a bigger bang for my buck. And that whole cliche ridden horse chase, snoresville, right down to seeing the horse carriage falling off a cliff as the hero dangles from the edge....barf.
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11:29AM on 12/29/2016
Despite its style points, fails to resonate on a higher octave than its low hum of dark doings, leaping around, and fisticuffs.

Despite its style points, fails to resonate on a higher octave than its low hum of dark doings, leaping around, and fisticuffs.

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11:51PM on 12/22/2016

Finally saw it

I have replied to several comment threads from concerned citizens but just in case, I wish to comment one last time to offer a counter review to Chris' as I feel his does the film injustice and will push folks away who were on the fence about catchin this in theaters.
This movie deserves your money. It was a kickass, but serious, scifi-action flick. I've had limited experience wih the games but understood their premise prior to its viewing. fassbender is great, and contrary to the review
I have replied to several comment threads from concerned citizens but just in case, I wish to comment one last time to offer a counter review to Chris' as I feel his does the film injustice and will push folks away who were on the fence about catchin this in theaters.
This movie deserves your money. It was a kickass, but serious, scifi-action flick. I've had limited experience wih the games but understood their premise prior to its viewing. fassbender is great, and contrary to the review above, so is Irons. He wasn't asked to do a whole lot but by no means over acted or seemed out of place. He action scenes were impressive and the use of the animus arm worked very well visually. The story was tight and controlled (well, mostly, the movies not perfect) and kept momentum toward its conclusion. I did not think any particular timeline was done an injustice as far as screen time.
My only gripe was that I would agree that the end was a bit anti climactic and rushed. The director was clearly given a goal for run time and he felt all the it's before were to important to establishing a film franchise to cut from those for the sake of filling out the conclusion. It is quite clear the studio expects to make this a franchise and wishes to continue the story in dilutive films. In a world with bottomless volumes of resident evil and underworld franchises I see no reason for this not to occur, other than too picky reviewers like Chris over here chasing away its potential viewers with a half baked review.
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7:52PM on 12/26/2016
Dude, you're obviously a paid plant. Let it go. The movie sucked and no one's going to go see it. Stop trying to sucker kids out of their money. Dillhole.
Dude, you're obviously a paid plant. Let it go. The movie sucked and no one's going to go see it. Stop trying to sucker kids out of their money. Dillhole.
7:26AM on 12/21/2016

I called this days ago

Told you it'd be shit, just like Warcraft and every other video game version before it. Fuck me if they made Zelda, gears of war, COD they'd all bomb cos they're interactive simulations for people to get involved in. They can decide their own fate - not like a pre-scripted movie. I'm not one for video games myself, never have been and whilst I respect people's views each to their own but for me the world of movies and video games should be kept separate and will never co-exist successfully
Told you it'd be shit, just like Warcraft and every other video game version before it. Fuck me if they made Zelda, gears of war, COD they'd all bomb cos they're interactive simulations for people to get involved in. They can decide their own fate - not like a pre-scripted movie. I'm not one for video games myself, never have been and whilst I respect people's views each to their own but for me the world of movies and video games should be kept separate and will never co-exist successfully either financially or from a review fan-boy point of view
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2:22PM on 12/21/2016
Only in RPGs can the player decide his own fate. For most games, the story is very much set in stone and the only thing the player control are the action scenes.

The only challenge in making a successful adaptation is to be able to shorten the story enough to make it fit into a movie. The only reason no one has been able to so far is that Hollywood isn't that good at telling good genre stories and has the lousy habit of setting a release date before the script is ready. The problem isn't the
Only in RPGs can the player decide his own fate. For most games, the story is very much set in stone and the only thing the player control are the action scenes.

The only challenge in making a successful adaptation is to be able to shorten the story enough to make it fit into a movie. The only reason no one has been able to so far is that Hollywood isn't that good at telling good genre stories and has the lousy habit of setting a release date before the script is ready. The problem isn't the source material, it's Hollywood.
11:35PM on 12/22/2016
Did you watch it, or just jumping on the troll bandwagon?
Did you watch it, or just jumping on the troll bandwagon?
1:48AM on 12/21/2016
Why do you think they decided to make this movie and then proceed to totally f it up? :(
Why do you think they decided to make this movie and then proceed to totally f it up? :(
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+1
7:46PM on 12/20/2016
The marketing for this movie comes off as trying to hide that this movie is crap. I'm not saying it is crap, but the marketing hasn't made it look otherwise.
The marketing for this movie comes off as trying to hide that this movie is crap. I'm not saying it is crap, but the marketing hasn't made it look otherwise.
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7:23PM on 12/20/2016

Video game movies are supposed to be fun, right?

Uh... no. Like most storytelling medias, video games have different genres, some of which have more levity than others. For example, a movie based on Heavy Rain would have to be very serious. The Assassin's Creed franchise, while not as dour, is still mostly serious science fiction and the only way to bring it to screen would have to be a mix of period piece and sci-fi.

The movie seems to be failing nevertheless but the reviewer seems to have been expecting the wrong thing.
Uh... no. Like most storytelling medias, video games have different genres, some of which have more levity than others. For example, a movie based on Heavy Rain would have to be very serious. The Assassin's Creed franchise, while not as dour, is still mostly serious science fiction and the only way to bring it to screen would have to be a mix of period piece and sci-fi.

The movie seems to be failing nevertheless but the reviewer seems to have been expecting the wrong thing.
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11:37PM on 12/22/2016
The movie was actually very good minus the anti climactic ending that is clearly meant to lead toward a sequel. It really nailed the tone and visuals of the game and told a relatively precise story in its two hour run time. Do not let Chris review lead you astray.
The movie was actually very good minus the anti climactic ending that is clearly meant to lead toward a sequel. It really nailed the tone and visuals of the game and told a relatively precise story in its two hour run time. Do not let Chris review lead you astray.
5:46PM on 12/20/2016
"Fassbender is not an ideal action hero despite his physique and good looks."

This is totally false. Which is obvious from his role as Magneto in the X-Men films. He'd be much better off in a Magneto solo film.
"Fassbender is not an ideal action hero despite his physique and good looks."

This is totally false. Which is obvious from his role as Magneto in the X-Men films. He'd be much better off in a Magneto solo film.
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11:02AM on 12/22/2016
Thank you! Besides, even in movies like Slow West Fassbender has that "twinkle" he talks about.
Thank you! Besides, even in movies like Slow West Fassbender has that "twinkle" he talks about.
+0
5:44PM on 12/20/2016
I have a question. Was the editing as "Catwoman-ish" as the clips made it seem? There seemed to be an edit every second. It left a bad taste in my mouth, and I was all for this movie until I saw those.
I have a question. Was the editing as "Catwoman-ish" as the clips made it seem? There seemed to be an edit every second. It left a bad taste in my mouth, and I was all for this movie until I saw those.
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11:38PM on 12/22/2016
The movie was excellent and looked really good on screen. It was any where near as geeky jerky as the commercials made it seem.
The movie was excellent and looked really good on screen. It was any where near as geeky jerky as the commercials made it seem.
4:33PM on 12/20/2016
I think this may be the epitome of why VG movie adaptations are so bad. Studios don't need to adapt every single aspect of the game into a movie. I always thought the whole Animus/flashback aspect of the video game was stupid. I never understood why they didn't just have the game set firmly during the Spanish inquisition and you control an Assassin throughout a certain narrative. That's what they clearly should have done for the movie as it would have made for a much more entertaining
I think this may be the epitome of why VG movie adaptations are so bad. Studios don't need to adapt every single aspect of the game into a movie. I always thought the whole Animus/flashback aspect of the video game was stupid. I never understood why they didn't just have the game set firmly during the Spanish inquisition and you control an Assassin throughout a certain narrative. That's what they clearly should have done for the movie as it would have made for a much more entertaining action flick.
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10:55PM on 12/20/2016
If you ever played the games, especially the first few, going between Desmond and Altair is essential for the plot of the game and getting the Apple of Eden. So to do just a period piece, you may as well NOT call it Assassins Creed. In all honesty, once AC dropped the human present day aspect, I lost interest in the games. They've become very...rinse and repeat. So for me, I very much value having you present day hero be part of the storyline.
If you ever played the games, especially the first few, going between Desmond and Altair is essential for the plot of the game and getting the Apple of Eden. So to do just a period piece, you may as well NOT call it Assassins Creed. In all honesty, once AC dropped the human present day aspect, I lost interest in the games. They've become very...rinse and repeat. So for me, I very much value having you present day hero be part of the storyline.
4:26PM on 12/20/2016
Great. So what you are saying is that the worst part of the game was playing as Desmond walking around figuring out invisible clues you didn't care about is like 90% of the movie. The best part was playing as your ancestor, and it's only like 20 minutes? Crap
Great. So what you are saying is that the worst part of the game was playing as Desmond walking around figuring out invisible clues you didn't care about is like 90% of the movie. The best part was playing as your ancestor, and it's only like 20 minutes? Crap
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11:40PM on 12/22/2016
The movie actually does a great job hopping back and forth. I did not once feel like either timeline was done an injustice.
The movie actually does a great job hopping back and forth. I did not once feel like either timeline was done an injustice.
4:00PM on 12/20/2016
"essentially goofy premise was worthy of almost prestige-level treatment."
Bias much?
"essentially goofy premise was worthy of almost prestige-level treatment."
Bias much?
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3:56PM on 12/20/2016

Another shitty VG movie

Go figure, this movie sucked. I'm sorry but it just wasn't good at all. It just feels like its setting itself up for a sequel and is pointless the entire time. The characters are all so boring and you just don't care about any of them. It just drags on and on and the action scenes are really stupid as you have all of these pg-13 stabbings and set pieces that look like a power ranger fight scene.
Go figure, this movie sucked. I'm sorry but it just wasn't good at all. It just feels like its setting itself up for a sequel and is pointless the entire time. The characters are all so boring and you just don't care about any of them. It just drags on and on and the action scenes are really stupid as you have all of these pg-13 stabbings and set pieces that look like a power ranger fight scene.
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+0
3:16PM on 12/20/2016
I was worried the film would not be good, based on the sub-par trailers that were released. I have played a couple of the Assassin's Creed games, and would not be considered a fan of them, so I did not have any expectations for this film. However, the marketing turned me off completely. Even in the trailers, it didn't look like they knew what to do with this material. I had a glimmer of hope for it since Fassbender signed on, but ultimately it looked like they dropped the ball. Who knows...may
I was worried the film would not be good, based on the sub-par trailers that were released. I have played a couple of the Assassin's Creed games, and would not be considered a fan of them, so I did not have any expectations for this film. However, the marketing turned me off completely. Even in the trailers, it didn't look like they knew what to do with this material. I had a glimmer of hope for it since Fassbender signed on, but ultimately it looked like they dropped the ball. Who knows...may be decent. I'll wait for home viewing to determine.
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2:58PM on 12/20/2016
Having played all the games, humor and levity is not one of their strong suits. The games are done in a very serious tone. The worst parts about the games is dealing with going in and out of the Animus which I'd assume would be just as boring in the movie. I will laugh if there is a scene where "he must follow the two men closely and listen to their conversation"..
Having played all the games, humor and levity is not one of their strong suits. The games are done in a very serious tone. The worst parts about the games is dealing with going in and out of the Animus which I'd assume would be just as boring in the movie. I will laugh if there is a scene where "he must follow the two men closely and listen to their conversation"..
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2:49PM on 12/20/2016

Misinterpretation

Bearing in mind that I have not viewed this film yet, I fear this review is written by someone who has certain expectations about what was expected of this movie. "Levity" and "humor" are not what this franchise does. It took itself seriously because it was supposed to. The games take themselves seriously too. Why does every action movie need "levity" or humor? Not every action film needs to be a marvel movie. This story is meant to be a serious piece of action-driven science fiction. I for one
Bearing in mind that I have not viewed this film yet, I fear this review is written by someone who has certain expectations about what was expected of this movie. "Levity" and "humor" are not what this franchise does. It took itself seriously because it was supposed to. The games take themselves seriously too. Why does every action movie need "levity" or humor? Not every action film needs to be a marvel movie. This story is meant to be a serious piece of action-driven science fiction. I for one still look forward to watching this movie and I believe it will have way more value than Chris, here, has given it.
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3:25PM on 12/20/2016
i agree totally ....this review was obviously written by someone who doesnt play the games....fail.
i agree totally ....this review was obviously written by someone who doesnt play the games....fail.
11:03PM on 12/20/2016
As an AC fan myself, yeah, the games are NOT for kids. Your premise is to sneak up and stab people in the neck. That's like saying "Lets make "Dead Island" a comedy because it's based off a video game". You know what has levity? Uncharted series. (which sadly now has Walburg as Drake and I am annoyed) but still, that's SUPPOSED to have humour. Assassins Creed, keep in mind has the word "ASSASSINS" in it, is NOT meant to be light hearted.
That said, I could end up hating the movie, but I doubt
As an AC fan myself, yeah, the games are NOT for kids. Your premise is to sneak up and stab people in the neck. That's like saying "Lets make "Dead Island" a comedy because it's based off a video game". You know what has levity? Uncharted series. (which sadly now has Walburg as Drake and I am annoyed) but still, that's SUPPOSED to have humour. Assassins Creed, keep in mind has the word "ASSASSINS" in it, is NOT meant to be light hearted.
That said, I could end up hating the movie, but I doubt it will be due to seriousness.
11:07AM on 12/22/2016
@GodMagnus, good news! It's been years since Wahlberg was attached to Uncharted. I think his involvement was contingent on David O. Russell doing it, and he's since moved on.
@GodMagnus, good news! It's been years since Wahlberg was attached to Uncharted. I think his involvement was contingent on David O. Russell doing it, and he's since moved on.
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