REVIEW: Assassin’s Creed (2016)

assassinscreed

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2016, Regency Enterprises/Ubisoft/New Regency Pictures/DMC Film/The Kennedy-Marshall Company/RatPac Entertainment/Alpha Pictures/CatchPlay/Monarchy Enterprises S.A.R.L./Helicopter Film Services/Latina Pictures

Director:
Justin Kurzel
Producers:
Patrick Crowley
Gerard Guillemot
Frank Marshall
Conor McCaughan
Arnon Milchan
Michael Fassbender
Jean-Julien Baronnet
Writers:
Patrick Desilets (original video game)
Corey May (original video game)
Jade Raymond (original video game)
Michael Leslie (screenplay)
Adam Cooper (screenplay)
Bill Collage (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Adam Arkapaw
Editing:
Christopher Tellefsen

Cast:
Michael Fassbender (Cal Lynch/Aguilar de Nerha)
Marion Cotillard (Dr. Sofia Rikkin)
Jeremy Irons (Dr. Alan Rikkin)
Brendan Gleeson (Joseph Lynch)
Charlotte Rampling (Ellen Kaye)
Michael K. Williams (Moussa)
Denis Menochet (McGowan)
Ariane Labed (Maria)
Khalid Abdalla (Sultan Muhammed XII)
Matias Varela (Emir)
Callum Turner (Nathan)
Carlos Bardem (Benedicto)
Javier Gutierrez (Tomas de Torquemada)
Hovik Keuchkerian (Ojeda)

The famous video game franchise gets a movie adaptation and it is not a bad film, with an original story that meshes the core elements of said game franchise in hopes to launch a film franchise.

Since seeing his mother’s death at the hands of his father thirty years ago, Cal Lynch has somewhat looked for answers. Imprisoned for murder, Cal is on death row and is scheduled to die. However, the Abstrego Company has his death faked and sends him to their facility in Madrid, Spain. A research team led by Dr. Sofia Rikkin is attempting to test Cal for an experiment in order to find a relic known as the Apple, which has the genetic code for free will.

Cal learns his ancestor is named Aguilar de Nerha, a member of a group known as Assassins, who are the archrivals of the Templars in 15th-Century Spain. Using the Animus, Cal becomes Aguilar and learns his movements and the story of the Apple. However, as Cal comes closer to the intentions of Abstrego and Sofia’s father, company CEO Alan Rikkin, he soon discovers a way to tap into the memories of his ancestor in order to use his skills to make things right.

Based on the Ubisoft video game franchise, it is interesting to bring a new original story that could be a connector to the game series. When it comes to making video game adaptations, using the core elements and character are usually used. However, despite a reference to one of the games, the film just takes the core elements of the game franchise and brings in a new character to the mix by the name of Cal Lynch, played by actor/producer Michael Fassbender.

Fassbender is great not only in the role of Cal, a troubled man who searches for answers stemming from seeing his mother killed at the hands of his father; but in the role of his ancestor, the Assassin Aguilar de Nerha. In a very ingenious move, director Justin Kurzel took the 15th Century scenes in Spain and kept the dialogue of Castellan Spanish for those particular scenes. This helped intensify the film in terms of both showcasing some great action as well as Fassbender’s acting ability.

Marion Cotillard brings great support in the role of Abstrego scientist Sofia, who starts out as a promising scientist who is looking for answers like Cal. However, she slowly begins to question her own ethical standards when she learns her father’s intentions. And speaking of that, Jeremy Irons makes the most of his role as Sofia’s father while another veteran, Charlotte Rampling, makes the most of her role in the role of a mysterious woman in connection with the company while Michael K. Williams plays a pivotal role in Moussa, a fellow descendant of a former Assassin (one referenced in one of the games itself) who finds himself a worthy ally for Cal.

The superb thing about the film is the action. In a stint that looks to come out of virtual reality, we see Cal emulating the actions of his ancestor in the Animus while seeing Aguilar performing some intricate weapon fights and the use of some amazing freerunning. A classic trademark move of the Assassins in the game is the “leap of faith” and we get to see that in action as well. The shocking aspect about the move here is that it is not done in an expected CGI effort, but rather to bring a sense of realism, Kurzel hired stuntman and freerunner Damian Walters to perform the leap and does it successfully on not one, but two occasions.

In terms of movie adaptations of video games, Assassin’s Creed ranks high as a top version with Michael Fassbender leading the way as a character who finds his true destiny with a wonderful supporting cast. This is one film version worth checking out despite some minor flaws that are ultimately forgivable.

WFG RATING: B+

DVD/BLU-RAY

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