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Assassin’s Creed (12A)

Synopsis:

Callum Lynch is the descendent of a member of a secret society of assassins who fought against the sinister Templar Knights. Callum is sentenced to death for murder, but is rescued by The Abstergo Foundation who intend to use a device called The Animus to allow Callum to relive his ancestor’s memories. The purpose of this is to locate a device called The Apple of Eden that will allow the total subjugation of mankind.

Review:

I am not a fan of the Assassin’s Creed videogames, I have only played the first one, because unlike most people I won’t give money to a franchise that spends it’s time insulting my intelligence with sub-standard writing just because one of the games acts as a Pirate Simulator.

However, the Assassin’s Creed film promised an original story and it was packed to the rafters with a fine crop of great actors: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling. With that many big names attached to it I was half expecting this to be the video game movie that proved that movies based on video games can be good. My expectations were far from the reality of what this movie was. It’s only the performances from actors that should know better and some quite excellent cinematography that stop this film from being as terrible as (for example) the first Assassin’s Creed game.

The plot is difficult to judge, because it might actually be very good, but it’s so mind-numbingly incoherent that it makes Terminator Genisys seem well thought out. Trying to write the synopsis for this review almost gave me a brain aneurysm. There’s a lot of running, jumping, stabbing and perfectly choreographed fight sequences that are quite entertaining while they are happening, but the moment they’re over I couldn’t help wondering why any of the on-screen events were happening.

The most fun to be had with this film is watching Jeremy Irons delivering (in his wonderfully elegant voice) lines of dialogue that would make E.L. James snort with derision. The leap of faith sequences are also incredibly impressive to behold and there is a particular battle sequence that occurs at a public burning that is excellent.

Of course the studios behind Assassin’s Creed weren’t content with allowing this film to be a one-off, so the ending of the film isn’t an ending per se, rather a catastrophically optimistic cliff-hanger that will lead quite nicely into the sequels that will never see the light of day.

Verdict:

You should probably just wait for it to arrive on Netflix. I didn’t utterly loathe it, which is more than I can say for the putrid source material, but that alone isn’t a good enough reason to invest any money in it. It’s pretty bad and utterly incoherent.

Stars: 2/5

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