by Ian Morton
While it seems like Assassins Creed had everything going in its favour, the final product never truly gets off the ground as a disjointed plot, lack of character development and underwhelming action sequences add Assassins Creed to the ever growing list of failed computer game adaptations.
After being forcefully recruited by scientist group Abstergo Industries, Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) discovers his ancestral lineage within the Assassins Creed after tapping into his genetic memories.
From a direction perspective, the film begins to unravel from the get go. From the opening scroll to the underwhelming finale, Assassins Creed is one disappointing set piece after another, never truly getting itself off the ground. The oversaturation of CGI is laughable and although it tries to create an absorbing world, it inevitably just gets lost in itself. Given the high octane action set pieces from recent franchises such as The Raid and John Wick, the prominent use of CGI within similar boundaries just feels lazy and as such, boring.
The story meanwhile manages to alienate both fans and newcomers by semi-structuring the plot around the events of the first game. While simultaneously managing to oversimplify events for the franchise veteran as well as wash over seemingly key events for the newcomer, the overall experience inevitably fails to satisfy both types of audience. This issue of trying to bridge the gap not only hurts the central plot but also affects any real attempt at character development, further adding to the issues by removing any real motive or drive that the audience can attach to.
From a performance aspect, the cast is strong but due to the issues mentioned above, they ultimately never get a chance to really pick up pace. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard do what they can when given the opportunity but never really give you a chance to empathise given the lack of opportunities. Jeremy Irons is strong as the big boss at Abstergo but when all is said and done, he feels wasted too.
Overall, Assassins Creed starts the year off on a very disappointing foot. We were promised a visual spectacle with high octane action set pieces but in reality, the flat, action-less adaptation leaves a lot to be desired for – 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Check out what we thought of last year with our top 10 of 2016: