While it certainly isn’t the worst video game adaptation we’ve seen, Assassin’s Creed suffers from bloated storytelling mildly cushioned with awesome action sequences. If you weren’t expecting much from this film and just came to see the action sequences, you’re in luck. But if you’re looking for a story with more substance, you’ll be gravely disappointed.
Callum Lynch is rescued from his execution by the mysterious organization Abstergo Industries that is seeking to eradicate violence from the world. In order to accomplish this goal, scientist Sophia Rikkin needs Callum to participate in the Animus Project where he will relive the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha. Aguilar de Nerha was once a member of a group of people known as the Assassins during the Spanish Inquisition and they supposedly held the power to control free will with the Apple of Eden. Sophia believes Aguilar was the last person to have the Apple and thus needs Callum to find it.
The above summary doesn’t even scratch the surface in terms of elements this movie is trying to fit in. While there are some interesting concepts that are standard philosophical questions Assassin’s Creed is all about, very few of them get the time and devotion they deserve in order to form a cohesive thought. Even the overall premise sounds interesting: is there a way to cure violence? What lengths will a person go to try and cure the notion of violence? But this idea is muddled too much with a ton of other plot points that try to go somewhere but ultimately fall flat.
A lot of the issues this movie seems to suffer is that the story focuses too much on the present and not enough on the Assassins. What makes the best Assassin’s Creed stories so good is that the viewer is constantly forced to question who the good guys are and who the bad guys are based on the memories they are witnessing. But in this film, it’s just all over the place and most of our answers come from the present and are revealed too soon. For a film that’s trying to push all these philosophical questions on us, there’s very little room for us to actually contemplate what’s being asked.
And again, this is Assassin’s Creed where the highlight of the film should be the Assassins. But we only see Spain five or so times. The rest of the story is in the present. Granted, the action sequences do deliver but that’s all the past is: it’s just action sequences. We hardly get any time to learn who Aguilar is as a person. What makes the video game series so great is that it’s all about who the Assassin was and what sort of life they lived and how they interacted with major moments in history. The movie does make an effort to do this but, again, it fails just like every other plot point or character development that it tries to get off the ground.
Also, if you were planning on seeing the leap of faith which was done by an actual stunt person and not CGd, you’re out of luck because only about a third of the jump is shown. Landing not included.
There is a good movie hidden inside Assassin’s Creed. There are pieces that are set into motion and concepts that are interesting. But overall, it just doesn’t deliver.
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