Assassins Creed (2016)

Being a fan of the games I was prepared for this film and dare I say – maybe even a bit excited? But as we all know the relationship between Video Games and Cinema is a turbulent one. Join us for a spoiler-free review nonetheless :

Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, before taking on the secret Templar society.

We are introduced to a boy with a penchant for thrillseeking. Not scared of danger or heights. It’s not a subtle introduction to the character and not a subtle use of foreshadowing either.

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What did Assassins Creed get right? By “right” i obviously mean “do well” rather than “remain faithful to”. Well for one the sets look great. The locations are immersive and the camera work sweeps around them with ease. There is a few moments during the present day scenes that become painfully CGI’d but aside from that it’s a visceral experience. There’s a lot of practical affects and camera work which makes this film appealing.

Likewise I can’t fault the lighting or costumes – it all matches up to compliment everything else going on.

The soundtrack is engaging and not too intrusive on the action.

Michael Fassbender delivers a strong performance as Callum Lynch which aids the audience in following his arc with relative ease.

The film features the highest free fall performed by a stuntman in almost 35 years. The stuntman Damien Walters performed a free fall from the height of 125 feet (38 meters), which lasted almost 3 seconds with a 61 mph impact speed.

Ubisofts lore dept were reportedly very helpful in providing detailed schematics for the weaponary used in the game.

The plot contains themes of control which seems oddly relevant in these uncertain times. Theres a fantastic duality at play in both the games and the film which portrays both sides (the Assassins and the Templars) as not specifically portrayed as good or bad. The ideologies could be corrupted. Much like the Jedi and Sith in Star Wars.

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Assassins Creed means well, I really believe that. It’s like 12 monkeys but a bit lighter and less taxing on the grey matter. If you’re looking for a straight adaption from the game then you won’t find it here. A few liberties were taken with regards to characters and details – some of it works, some of it doesn’t but it’s entirely to plan.

The game franchise began with fantastic lore : Abstergo, The Animus, Desmond etc, but i feel they began to dilute that in more recent games. As a casual fan I lost track after Desmond left the series but enjoyed the games for the historical action nonetheless. Black Flag and Origins being of particular note.

For the fanboys this is an enjoyable afternoon at the movies but for everyone else it’s just another paint by numbers cash grab.

“La Shaaya Waqin Moutlaq Bale Kouloun Moumkin”

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