Release Date: December 21, 2016
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writer: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Patrick Desilets, Corey May, Jade Raymond
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Kenneth Williams, Denis Menochet, Ariane Labed, Khalid Abdalla, Essie Davis, Matias Varela, Callum Turner, Carlos Bardem, Javier Gutierrez, Hovik Keuchkerian, Crystal Clarke, Michelle H. Lin, Brian Gleeson, Julio Jordan, Rufus Wright, Angus Brown, Kemaal Deen-Ellis, Aaron Monaghan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 115 minutes
Production Company: Regency Enterprises, Ubisoft, New Regency Pictures, DMC Film, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, RatPac Entertainment, Alpha Pictures, CatchPlay, Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l., Latina Pictures, 20th Century Fox
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Language: English, Spanish
Country: UK, France, Hong Kong, USA
Budget: $125,000,000 (estimated)
It’s been nearly a decade and a half since I’ve considered myself a serious gamer. My interest leaned more towards the fighting platforms with martial arts, but Assassin’s Creed wasn’t around during those days. It’s not that video games no longer pique my interest, but as we all get older every form of entertainment can’t be at our disposal. So while curiosity has always been at a high, I’ve missed the glory Assassin’s Creed has given many fans. With this property now being adapted into a film, it’s the best of both worlds for me; catering both to my ninja dream fantasies and jump flipping martial arts with blades flying all about. Having never played the game, but eager to see sweet moves, my expectations were low; which helped bring on an adventure I’d love to be part of.
There’s a shortage of characters that you care about. They’re well cast, fitting the physical roles they’re trying to fill, but an emotional connection was lost somewhere. When Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) and Sofia (Mario Cotillard) attempt to emote passion for each other it amounts to nothing more satisfying than a peanut and jelly sandwich. Frankly, it just depends on what you have a taste for; which is the entire focus of this film. Ubisoft didn’t have in mind creating a world where the relationships are as deep as the science. They created an environment where the main lead is playing himself as if he’s a video game and simulations don’t have to make sense in order for you to be entertained. Some of the plot points don’t add up in this film, but they’re forgivable because of the action. A captured man shouldn’t still have weapons on his person, but those are just a few t’s the film didn’t cross.
The action is what stole the show. It wasn’t the best choreographed in the business, but given the source material, it managed to hold up. The style of fighting was slightly familiar, but is rarely seen on big screens. Every punch and kick was done without wasting movement and flowed like water. They control the fight in every motion, as if it were a dance they’ve already mastered. These assassins didn’t feel like they were trained to kill, but rather were born to kill. Seeing them soar in the air as parkour masters was thrilling. One scene in particular, where one ran off of a mountain side landing on a moving horse carriage, was admittedly impressive. What surpassed even that was the visuals used to tell the story. Similar to the Matrix, a character is plugged up to a machine and experiences a whole different world. What’s different here was the editing that flashed back and forth between the action showing both sides of reality. It was a neat trick that was slightly used too much, but still gave an interesting perspective to what the character was going through.
What’s also prominent is the idea of supremacy as it relates to the world. Most people want justice, but everyone has their own way of going about it. It’s also worth noting that the faces of good and evil weren’t single entities themselves, but organizations and ideals that stretch over centuries. The film gives a new meaning to sacrifice, loyalty, spies, and all that comes with it. There were a few revelations that took things to the next level, but then there was a mishap that brought it back down. The approach to peace was between the opposing sides and was both scary and refreshing; with a McGuffin that’s easy to understand.
There wasn’t much to Fassbender’s involvement other than him being there physically. His strong facial features were a good casting choice for a stone cold killing assassin. If that’s the reason he was picked they were spot on. The score was loud and pulsating, adding to the madness and violence, but there were still a few moments that made you scratch your head. As a man who’s never played the game, I didn’t know what to expect, but found myself more happy than sad during most of the film. The action was a love letter to those who are in the martial arts and is alone a reason any fan of fighting will easily enjoy themselves.