“We work in the dark to serve the light. We are assassins.”
Videogame adaptations, mostly deservedly, have a bad reputation. They tend to have bad acting, dodgy special effects, naff storyline and poor storytelling. ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is better than every other video game adaptation because it does something a bit different, perhaps intentionally or perhaps not. It doesn’t try to be ‘more’ than a videogame adaptation and is made vastly more enjoyable as a result.
The film doesn’t have any delusions of grandeur, it doesn’t try to invent itself and betray its origins in the process. It may only be an average yet enjoyable film but that’s a status most videogame adaptations are unable to achieve. The fact that I was in a screen at the o2 which has D-BOX seating (the seats move and vibrate in sync with the film) and the fact I was sat in the first row of standard seats after the D-BOX seating reinforced this idea for me. The film has an atmosphere and tone which suits itself for such cinematic experiences. It’s lightweight cinematic fluff that’s rather enjoyable to watch, particularly the Friday night after the first week back after the holidays and your brain doesn’t need to work too hard to keep up.
The main reason the film succeeds in this venture is that it has been made with a degree of seriousness, yet not overwhelming so. Fassbender is key to this as he provides us with a great central performance, making the viewer engage with the events to the extent required for the film to be enjoyable. He’s the best thing about the movie and truly makes it a worthwhile blockbuster watch. Cotillard doesn’t really make an impact as she totally phones in her performance. Irons does his usual villain schtick to great effect. Gleeson has a solid cameo as does Rampling – both steal the show when on screen.
The story itself is pretty standards by-the-numbers adventure/quest narrative. It’s not told in a particularly inventive way and the main outcomes can be predicted within the first few minutes of watching. Plus there’s a recurring motif of a flying eagle to remind us this is a Hollywood movie. And yet there’s more enough there to occupy. The sequences set in 1400s Italy are the stand-out sequences and the stunts are consistently pretty epic.
All in all, to paraphrase Maximus Decimus Meridius, I was pretty entertained. By the end of the year, possibly the end of the month even, I’ll be able to recall very little about the film. However if you’re in need of a lightweight action movie you could do worse than turn to this one.
Dir: Justin Kurzel
Year: 2017 Run time:115 minutes