Assassin's Creed

Over-produced and devoid of tension, Assassin's Creed ignores all the things that made its source material great.
Tom Glasson
Published on January 09, 2017


The original Assassin's Creed video game was a sublime blend of world design, innovative mechanics and thrilling gameplay. While high-octane action was available, stealth was definitely favoured as the most useful mode of play, and almost always proved the most gripping.

The game's story centred upon a technological breakthrough that allowed direct descendants of an ancient assassin's guild to revisit the memories of their ancestors, essentially re-living their darkest and most dangerous endeavours in order to ascertain the location of a long-lost relic. While some time was spent in the modern world, the lion's share was spent inside the machine, allowing the gamer to experience all the exhilaration of exploring and causing chaos in the age of Renaissance Europe.

The film adaptation, by contrast, makes the same ill-conceived decision that doomed the third instalment of the Matrix trilogy, in that it spends far too much time in the real world at the expense of everything that made its source material so innovative and engaging. Worse, when inside the 'Animus', the focus is almost entirely on action, meaning there's almost none of the signature stealth assassination that made the gameplay so tense. Overly-choreographed and devoid of tension, these periodic action scenes depict the assassins as mostly ineffective killers who spend most of their time running away from far superior fighters.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment, however, is that Assassin's Creed boasts an outstanding cast whose talents are almost entirely wasted. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling are all tasked with delivering exposition-heavy drivel and/or cringeworthy clangers like "Welcome…to the Spanish Inquisition". Truly, the only line that earns a non-ironic laugh and feels genuine to both the film and the actor who delivers it comes about halfway through the film, when Fassbender looks around, laughs to himself and mutters: "What the fuck is going on?" You'd be hard-pressed to find a more fitting tagline to slap on the posters.


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