Assassin’s Creed: Close But No Cigar for Video-Game Adaptation
Brendan GleesonJeremy Irons...
3DAction & Adventure...
In 7 Cinemas
Trying hard to evade the usual failings a of video-game-to-movie adaptations, Assassin’s Creed manages to merge its visual presence into an immersive viewing experience. However, although, considerably better than other recent adaptations, director Justin Kerzel and his team don’t quite manage to put it all together into the story itself, which quite often feels hollow.
The story is centered on Callum ‘Cal’ Lynch (Fassbender); a death row convict who, following thirty years of crime, is to be executed via lethal injection. However, soon after the injection has been administrated, Callum finds himself awakening in a strange facility which he soon learns belongs to a powerful corporation named Abstrego Industries. Falling under the care of scientist Sofia Rikkin (Cotilliard), he is informed that that he is a descendent from a long lineage of assassins, specifically one named Aguilar de Nerha.
With his DNA capable of providing a direct link to his ancestor, Callum soon finds himself a subject of an experiment titled the ‘Animus Project’, where he finds himself hooked up to a machine, with his body and mind pushed to relive the experience of his de Nerha during the Spanish Inquisition. Finding himself back in 1492, he is soon joined by another assassin named Maria (Labed) to uncover the location of an ancient and seemingly powerful relic hidden by 15th century assassins.
Fans of the video-game will appreciate the stylistic choices made by the production; Assassin’s Creed is one of the first video-game adaptations to be co-produced by a game studio, and so there’s a level of assurance when it came to putting together a faithful adaptation.
This translates best into rich visuals and wonderfully crafted details, while slick action sequences are also a plus. But there’s a seeming lack of urgency and excitement to the plot itself; unable to make full use of the talent present, the story fails to fully develop its characters on screen with both Fassbender and Cotilliard – although seemingly committed to the roles given – coming across as a little dull and characterless, playing the morally-questionable scientist and former criminal who finds new meaning and value to his life quite predictably.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed is a visually engaging film; but there’s very little matter or substance hiding behind its sleek façade. The film does, however, set-up a sequel, which could quell the problems that mean it’s another largely unsuccessful adaptation.