This review will contain SPOILERS for the film Assassin's Creed, directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons.
Firstly, I have just watched the film in my local cinema in Toulouse called UGC. I went in with very low expectations because I had read so many bad reviews of the film on the internet. However, as a fan of the games, I was determined to watch this film. If you are reading this then you can breathe easy because the film surpassed my low expectations. For me, it was a very entertaining and thrilling two hours of cinema that was not meant to be anything more than what it was. That being said, there were some flaws with the film that I will critique later.
Starting with the positive points of the film: it does stick closely to the narrative of both the games and the books. The 'Guinea pig' Callum Lynch (Fassbender), after being placed in the machine known as the Animus, is thrown back to relive his ancestors' memories so the evil Abstergo Foundation (headed by Alan Rikkin, played brilliantly by Irons) can find the Apple of Eden (the device that controls minds), all of which is a carbon copy of what is in the games. The layout of the Animus, though markably different from the games, is another highlight because it is visually exciting and captivating. The parkour chase scenes that take place in 1492 are epic since they utilise the landscape of the real world in which the film is based. Fassbender and Cotillard work very well opposite each other and their relationship which is marred at the end of the film is one of the most interesting aspects of it. The side characters also are fun to watch.
Since I was talking about the side characters, their lack of development hinders their role later in the film when Abstergo and the Assassins clash. This is annoying because the film spends a lot of time setting up the fight between these two sides as one that has been long awaited. That and the fact that at times the film gets too bogged down in technical details like describing what the Animus does before it is first used, or when Cotillard tries to explain that she is trying to cure the violent nature of humans. This, I think, is more the writers' fault but it is a mistake that can be lived with because they tried to bring something new to the franchise, which is a good idea in principle but didn't necessarily work in practice.
Overall, I would say that the film is passable as a video game-based film but it falls short of epic action films like the Bond films or the Bourne films. However, the performances are superb so I would give it 3 stars out of 5 which is generous.
Have you seen Assassin's Creed or played the game? What's your favourite action film and why?