Possible spoilers ahead!
Based on the blockbuster video game series of the same name, “Assassin’s Creed” was the first major adaptation to be co-produced by a game studio, Ubisoft Motion Pictures. With a big budget, and a solid cast, things looked promising for the movie. But when it came out late last year, “Assassin’s Creed” was a box office disappointment. And thus, the video game movie curse continued.
“Assassin’s Creed” could have used a script editor. The finished product is a mess in an all sorts of ways. However, the movie does have slick action sequences, some creative sci-fi elements, and some surprisingly rich cinematography. But all the good stuff in the film is undercut by flat drama, a convoluted plot, and almost zero character development.
The lack of character development was surprising, since the movie has three intros for the lead. First we meet the Assassin’s Creed in 1492 Spain, then we meet eight year old Callum “Cal” Lynch the day his dad murders his mom, and then we jump to adult Callum “Cal” Lynch now played by Michael Fassbender.
We’re supposed to care for Cal, but for the entire movie all we know about Cal is that his mom died, and he’s a descendant of the Creed. The audience is never given a reason to root for this guy.
It’s unfortunate, because “Assassin’s Creed” has a unique look and style that I haven’t seen in other video game adaptations. Had the filmmakers taken time to develop its central heroes and villains, or had they focused on just one time period, they would have scored a big hit.
I can’t place the blame on Marion Cotillard, Michael Fassbender, or the rest of the cast. They do what they can with the material. But even the best actors in the world wouldn’t be able to elevate a weak script.
Without a doubt, the best stuff in the movie takes place in the 15th century. These sequences had the best storytelling, and the best action scenes. The hand to hand battles are better than anything we got in “Iron Fist,” and I particularly liked the team of Aguilar and Maria. A film focused on those two would be epic.
While “Assassin’s Creed” is a step up from previous video game movies, it contiues one tradition that has plagued the others: a weak script. Hopefully future video game adaptations will take this to heart. That said, “Assassin’s Creed” is not all bad. The stuff in Spain is gorgeous, the action is slick, and the costumes are pretty damn good.
“Assassin’s Creed” final score: C+