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Assassin's Creed is a completely incoherent movie despite a gazillion A-list stars

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 5:47 IST

If you've played Assassin's Creed and loved it, you probably shouldn't mar your joyful, murderous memories of the game by watching the movie adaptation.

Unless you're a fan of terrible movies, of course.

Despite being one of the most well-cast video game-based movies ever - featuring Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling - the only real redeeming factor are the bits which are most true to the Ubisoft game itself. In those scenes, the action is on point and the camera works with some dizzying artistic frames to recreate the game, as Fassbender hops from roof to roof killing pretty much everyone in his path, just because he can.

With Justin Kurzel (Macbeth and Snowtown) in the directorial chair and brother Jed Kurzel as music director, the movie stars Fassbender as Callum Lynch, the death row inmate who is executed by the state and then sent back in time using a device called the Animus, to explore the memories of his 15th century ancestor Aguilar, who was, as the movie title suggests, an assassin.

Why go through all this trouble? Well, Alan Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), the big, bad bossman at Abstergo Industries (something like a contemporary incarnation of the Templars), believes Callum can use Aguilar's memories to find the Apple of Eden, a holy relic that deprives people of their capacity for free will.

Cotillard plays Rikkin's daughter Sophia, who's put in charge of Callum to make sure he doesn't go completely bat shit crazy.

What comes across strongly in almost every frame is how serious everyone is about the movie, giving it their absolute all. But that can only go so far, and you're left wondering why actors of the calibre of Cotillard, Irons and Fassbender even joined the franchise. You'd think it may have been a harebrained bet, but Fassbender went a step further and decided to produce the thing too.

Luckily, Kurzel does manage to incorporate the signature gameplay of the series in the action scenes. What he does shy away from is using a crazy amount of blood and gore, in an attempt to keep true to the movie's PG-13 rating. Sure, there are a lot of bodies, but it's reasonably bloodless.

Beyond that, everything else is just plain morose - from the actors to the insipid one-liners.

Considering what a dud it's been at the box office, the chances of a sequel look very slim indeed. Lucky us.

The verdict

Even though it's nice that they attempted to try and break the curse of video game movies, it still doesn't take away the fact that this is far from the best movie of 2016.

While the gaming franchise has been ridiculously successful, the question here is: do those who spend their days tethered to their controllers and mouses really need a movie to gain the experience?


RATING: 2 out of 5

First published: 30 December 2016, 7:23 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.