Angelina Jolie and her portrayal of video game character Lara Croft in Tomb Raider was the last vastly successful video-game-to-movie adaptation, and for some it still stands as a cult classic in the action and adventure movie genre.
While understandably difficult to transform a video game, in this case an open-world sandbox adventure, into a 90 minute movie, Michael Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed adaptation takes a leap of faith and falls violently to the ground.
The story follows Cal Lynch (Fassbender), a criminal outcast, as he travels back into the Spanish Inquisition through the use of revolutionary technology, known as the Animus, that unlocks the memories of long lost ancestors.
Cal experiences the murderous life of Assassin Aguilar de Nerha, through what is basically a high-tech Virtual Reality experience.
Aguilar fights with secret society known only as the Assassin’s Creed, to protect free will from the power-hungry Templar Order.
Gaining knowledge and flashy fighting skills from the past, Cal uses these to battle the Templar Order in present day, stopping them from using the ancient Apple of Eden to oppress society.
Assassin’s Creed fans will be delighted to hear that Ubisoft, developers of the video game series, has worked closely with the movie producers and the story stays true to the Creed.
Yet the film’s length and producers strive to cram in as much theological depth as possible ultimately makes the characters lack just that, character.
This leads to the masterminds behind the Animus technology, scientist Dr. Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) and her creepy father Alan Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), being rather shallow and boring.
This should be rather complex and compelling, but despite good presentation and acting, the duo simply fall flat – assassinated by too much depth crammed into too little time.
The action sequences, from gritty and exhilarating rooftop chases to perfectly choreographed fight scenes, help bring the film back into the realm of excitement.
The problem here is that there simply is not enough of this, with only one third of the film taking place in the chaotic 15th Century Spanish Inquisition.
In other words, if you fancy watching a decent action movie with plenty of back-stabbing – both literal and metaphorical – this is one that may get the blood pumping.
Just don’t go in thinking you’ll come out enlightened in the themes of religious theology and historical information – Assassin’s Creed just feels like a film made for temporary visual excitement produced with the idea of plucking money from gamer’s pockets.