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Assassin's Creed (2016) - Film Review

Reporter: Paul Chan
Date online: 01 January 2017

CONVICTED criminal Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is rescued from his own execution by the mysterious Abstergo Industries - the modern day incarnation of the Templar Order who seek to control the world.

The are searching for the Apple of Eden, the artifact which will help them control the human race.

Lynch is told by Dr Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) that he is the last descendant of Aguilar de Nerha, a member of a secret order of assassins who oppose the Templars and believe in free will and will stop at nothing to prevent the Templars from getting the Apple.

Callum is connected to a machine called the Animus which will help Dr Rikkin track down the last known location of the Apple of Eden, which was in the hands of his ancestor and hidden.

Callum meets with other descendants of assassins who have been held by Abstergo and discovers that one of the side effects of being connected to the Animus allows him to learn some of the combat abilities of his ancestor.

Half of this film is composed of 15th century kinetic action scenes set in Spain which contain plenty of parkour (free running) and highly stylised fight scenes which look great.

The scenes are reminiscent in parts of James Bond's chase and fight in the Tuscan city of Siena in Italy during one section of Quantum of Solace (2008).

It's this half that I really wanted to see more of, and the characters of Aguilar (also played by Fassbender) and his partner Maria (Ariane Labed) participate in an engrossing subplot which plays out like a Spanish subtitled action flick.

The modern day sections of this film contain the driving force of the plot which, as with most computer game adaptations, struggles to keep itself grounded within the narrative despite being paper thin.

Put more simply, there's over ten years of video games in the Assassin's Creed series and the film seems fully respectful of the source material so fans of the games shouldn't be disappointed.

Fassbender adds a certain gravitas to proceedings while Cotillard's character is underserved by the script, but filmgoers shouldn't expect too much in the way of high drama in this ultimately forgettable action adventure.

The final scenes of the film set it up for a possible sequel but to get there there's a couple of jagged plot twists to get over before that.

There's a trilogy planned if the figures stack up, and while there's still not been a truly great video game adaptation this is better than most non-gamers would initially imagine.


Assassin's Creed (12A; moderate violence, infrequent strong language; 115 minutes)

SUMMARY: ASSASSIN'S CREED is an action fantasy about a man who inherits the memories of his 15th century ancestor and discovers that he is a descendant of a secret Assassins' society.

RATING: **

 

 

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