Michael Fassbender Takes A Leap Of Faith In Assassin’s Creed
Justin Kurzel directed Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in a pitch-black, kick-ass version of Macbeth last year. In Assassin’s Creed, he reunites his two leads, adds big name stars Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, and The Wire’s Michael K. Williams, but never manages to achieve the same level of on-screen awesomeness—despite a dozen (or so) cool and well-choreographed action sequences.
Based on the video game franchise that’s sold over 93 million copies worldwide, the Assassin’s Creed movie centres on a renamed protagonist: Cal Lynch (Fassbender), a man whose fuzzy past hints at career criminality and at least one murder—for which he’s about to be executed. Unlike in the game, Cal isn’t aware of his Assassin heritage and the war that’s been waged for centuries between the Assassins and the Knights Templar, who want peace on Earth through the annihilation of free will. To that end, both sides seek to possess the apple, a relic from the Garden of Eden.
The fight for the fruit takes on a Dan-Brown-meets-The-Matrix vibe after Cal is kidnapped by the Templars (headed up by Irons and Cotillard, playing his scientist daughter) and forced into brain-syncing machine The Animus, where he mind melds with his 15th century Assassin ancestor, Aguilar (also Fassbender) and fights to avoid being burned at the stake or some similarly awful Spanish Inquisition-era end.
The movie, with it’s overwrought opening scene guitar riffs, sacred apples, and CGI eagle, is goofy from the start. It features the kind of bad guys that announce themselves by dangling their bad guy insignia from their rear-view mirror like a pair of fuzzy dice. Fassbender, Cotillard, and Greek actress Ariane Labed (The Lobster, Black Mirror) are unsurprisingly good but Irons, Rampling, and especially Williams are underused. You’ve got Omar back in prison playing an ancient assassin? Do something cool with that. Don’t save it for the sequel (and yeah, there will be one—the ending sets it up pretty firmly).
Creed ultimately delivers what you’d expect from a movie based on a video game: slick, fast-paced fight and chase scenes, snazzy hoodies, and Fassbender punching his way through a glass dome.
Assassin’s Creed stealthily sneaks into theatres today. Check out the trailer below.