Why so serious Michael?
The video game Assassin’s Creed had the important ingredient of fun, but unfortunately the movie – a ‘pet project’ of actor Michael Fassbender (the recent X-Men trilogy and forthcoming Alien: Covenant) – has not.
The latest attempt to bring to life a stellar gaming title on the big screen – see Resident Evil, Super Mario Bros and Warcraft as just a few failed attempts (critically at least) – is quite a monotonous and joyless experience.
While trying so hard to impress with its noteworthy production values and cinematography – obviously attempting to create a potential new franchise – it ends up as a product that is meek, gloomy, devoid of any humour, and takes itself far too seriously.
Fassbender headlines this take on the highly-acclaimed open world assassin gaming series (which has sparked multiple titles across various historical locales) starring as death row inmate Callum Lynch, who literally gets brought back from the dead to experience the adventures of his 15th century Spanish ancestor Aguilar.
Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises) – alongside her father (Jeremy Irons) – is the scientist using him as a ‘guinea pig’ after saving his life, as revolutionary technology inside a machine called the Animus unlocks Lynch’s genetic memories in the confines of a top-secret Madrid location.
Their goal? For Lynch – with help from assassin partner Maria (Ariane Labed) – to retrieve the mythical Apple of Eden (which contains the genetic code that will put an end to man’s violence) by rescuing a prince who has been kidnapped by the powerful Templars, via amassing the incredible knowledge and skills of the fearless wrist-knife wielding Aguilar in the Animus.
But despite one or two impressive ‘parkour’ inspired action sequences, getting to the end game is quite an arduous slog – as Creed never arrives at anything close to exciting.
The plotting is quite elongated, Oscar winner Cotillard and Oscar nominee Irons relegated to a predictable by-the-numbers script, and Fassbender – who actually produced the thing – should be doing better. Because he is better than this.
Unfortunately he had faith that this was going to be the first video game conversion to make it big in Hollywood – hence the hefty budget which can be seen with the impressive Andalusian landscapes – but sadly his beliefs were misguided.
The moniker for the assassins is that they ‘work in the dark to serve the light’, but unfortunately no light ever makes it past its gloomy interior – as this shoots disappointingly well wide of the mark.