Game to film conversions are usually a sorry lot with average been the best that can be hoped for. The Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider and erm House of the Dead all spring to mind at least this time Uwe Boll is nowhere in sight… This time the end result is no real exception.
The Assassin’s Creed games developed by Ubisoft had a somewhat complicated story; intertwining the past with the present, double crosses, red herrings, interlocking story lines and throwing in some sorta god like deities to really muddy the waters of perception. The film however sticks to the basics: Templers bad, Assassin’s good and both after the movies macfuffin an Apple of Eden. The Apple controls free will of men making them docile and stopping war, or something. It’s not really important…
You don’t need to have played or even be aware of any of these free roaming games to fully immerse yourself, or indeed enjoy director Justin Kurzel’s action packed fare. While there are several nods that pay homage to the source material; an eagle souring majestically overhead, a certain way of scrambling up a wall and of course the obligatory leap of faith the enjoyment of the viewing in not diminished having no prior knowledge.
A stellar cast including Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard and a confused looking Brendan Gleeson all make an appearance and to begin with all is peachy. Some well choreographed action scenes set the tone as the past is handled in murky colours and dusty tones, at times it looks like this could be a surprise hit and then in transports you back to the present… Here the film sags. A clichéd father daughter relationship that is merely hinted at, a possible love interest that no one cares about and some background characters that are clearly only there to distract, explain the story and act as cannon fodder.
Then it is back to the past: more action and more excitement the order of the day, throw in a few more tributes to the game and then back to the present were *yawn* then back to the past and so on.
Not a bad conversion by any standard but then the bar was not very high in the first place.
Conclusion: A mixed bag with some decent action and some well respected stars save this from been a complete flop. If only they had strayed further from the source material and lost themselves in some memories…
Two out of five stars,