‘ASSASSIN’S CREED’ (2016) MOVIE REVIEW – There’s a Good Movie in Here……. In 1492
Assassin’s Creed…………. Why you do this??????
Apart from the very questionable music choices for the trailers this film had everything it needed to produce a quality result; Rich video-game lore, a large talented cast, a great action and character director, and all of this represented promisingly in its two main trailers. Hell, i was supporting this film throughout its entire production. But somewhere along the production line it all fell apart and this film that was one of my most anticipated unfortunately failed to deliver on any or all of the anticipation surrounding it. The film follows Callum Lynch who is captured by Abstergo and forced into the Animus to relive the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha in 15th Century Spain in order to search for the Apple of Eden. The film also boasts an impressive cast including Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Ariane Labed, Michael K Williams, and Charlotte Rampling……. and manages to waste the talents of pretty much its entire cast. It’s a shame because there are elements this film gets right but the rest is handled and executed terribly.
One thing i have to say is that every moment this film spends in 1492 was great. It had the stunning cinematography featured in ‘Macbeth’ (2015), very fast paced and entertaining parkour sequences, plus many great action scenes all of which made for some thoroughly enjoyable content. The only thing that could have made these action scenes better would have been if there were maybe half as many cuts. Also I really cared about the characters explored in this time period, their backstories and their journeys through the Spanish Inquisition. I was thoroughly intrigued by the plot of that time period and the mission Aguilar and Maria are sent on. It was perfect material to really delve into and it was very reminiscent of the mysterious history based stories from the games. But unfortunately this potential is all wasted when the film’s focus is split around 70-30 in favour of the modern day content which was mostly boring as shit. Like, 30 minutes into the movie i could have fallen asleep. THIS is where all of the interesting content was, a film that took place almost entirely in this time period would have been fantastic. Just have one modern day sequence at the beginning, one at the end, and you have yourself grounds for a very entertaining film. And i know what you’re gonna say…. “But Stephen, the modern day story is a key component of the games”….. Yes, it is a key component……. but of the GAMES….. where the characters are interesting, entertaining, and you are invested in their story and their mission, whereas here, you don’t care.
Almost every minute spent in the modern day was a complete borefest. I did not care about the modern day story being told or any of the characters that were focused on, and those characters who i wanted to know more about were completely wasted and did nothing of interest. Almost every character was very bland apart from maybe one very lightly featured side character who… well…. showed some character. One of the biggest issues is that i was given jack shit of a reason to like or get behind Callum Lynch (Fassbender), the protagonist of the film for gods sake, he isn’t a likeable guy and lacks much of a personality. I get that characters in other films start off at this point, but Lynch doesn’t develop at all throughout the film, at least not in any natural manner. Marion Cotillard plays Abstergo agent Sofia who was about as visually expressive and emotive as a brick wall. Part of this persona is linked with her character not the performance, but when the film asks you to care about this person it’s hard to care about someone whose purpose for the entire film was to be the exposition queen. Do you need something explained? Don’t worry, Sofia has your back. Do you need something painfully over-explained? Don’t worry, Sofia is right on top of that too.
And then you have the character of Alan Rikkin played by world class actor Jeremy Irons, a character who has played a big part in the behind the scenes elements of the Assassin’s Creed series and a character who in this film doesn’t do anything of interest, absolutely nothing to show off the level of acting talent Jeremy Irons can put out. Michael K Williams plays another Assassin held captive in Abstergo HQ who was the most interesting character in the modern day as he was one of the only ones with any speck of personality. He’s only in a handful of scenes but i liked that guy, he was good. Now here comes the weird part with casting in this film, they have managed to sign on Brendan Gleeson to this film, they give the guy the 4th acting credit, and they use him in one scene to blurt out a few lines and then that’s it. Completely wasted use of a world class actor. And i’m sure you got the idea before but as only a very small portion of the film is set in the past this means that all of those characters in 1492 who were very interesting were completely wasted too, such a shame.
It tried to do a lot for one movie that runs for around 110 minutes. You can tell Kurzel wanted to make a very good action and character oriented period piece (like Macbeth), make a very good modern sci-fi action film, and also incorporate all of the heavy lore from the assassins creed games with various warring factions and the apple of eden. Unfortunately trying to balance all of these elements failed badly. But after all that i am still very optimistic about seeing what Justin Kurzel does next as he is a relatively new Director who after two successes has his first error, and this means he can learn from this and come back bigger.
So in the end, this movie to put it simply wasn’t good. It takes all of the good elements that should have been the main focus and builds up a whole modern day world around those moments with bland characters that was boring as shit. I will say that the last 10 minutes of those modern day sequences started to blend the lines between the exciting elements of the past and the modern day setting but it was too little too late if you ask me. I would say this film isn’t one you need to see, if you are an AC fan, check it out but i can’t promise you will enjoy much of it. Will we see another Assassin’s Creed movie in the future? I personally would like to see another one where they focus on fixing the mistakes this film makes as i believe there is a fantastic film in here….. that movie is set ENTIRELY IN FUCKEN 1492. But, it all comes down to money, the movie cost $125M to make not including marketing, and seeing how it tracked in week 1 in the US this thing has to make BIG money in foreign markets to avoid being a disaster. There’s other stuff i want to talk about but ill keep that for a spoiler filled review.