“Assassin’s Creed” may have the highest end cast ever for a movie based on a videogame. Ripe with Oscar nominees and winners like Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling, it’s the poshest piffle to ever leap from the gaming consul to the big screen.
Based on the wildly popular Ubisoft videogames of the same name, the movie is a standalone that does not follow the storyline of the games.
When we first see Fassbender it’s the time of the Spanish Inquisition. He is Aguilar de Nerha, head of a stealthy brotherhood of assassins charged with making sure that rivals Knights Templar don’t get their hands on a holy relic called The Apple of Eden. “We work in the dark to service the light!” The stakes are high as the mystical device contains “the seed of man’s first disobedience.”
Jump forward to 2016. Fassbender is now Cal Lynch, a career criminal set on a bad path as a child when he saw his father murder his mother. On death row for the murder of a pimp he is to be executed. Instead he is whisked away by multinational corporate conglomerate Abstergo. “What do you want from me?” Callum asks. “Your past,” says lead scientist of the Animus project at Abstergo Foundation Sophia Rikkin (Cotillard).
Using something called the Animus Abstergo unlocks Cal’s genetic memory, essentially seeing through Aguilar de Nerha’s 15th century eyes as they look for clues as to the location of the Apple.
It’s ancestry.ca gone wild! It’s also an almost incomprehensible story about ancient rivalries and, more confusingly, “the genetic code for free will.” What, exactly does that mean? Who knows? The plot, such that it is, is essentially a load of gobbledygook that fills the gaps between the action scenes. Plot points are delivered with Fassbender’s trademarked intense glare and solemn intonations from Irons and the rest of the cast, so they must mean something, right? If you figure it out, let me know.
The action sequences are plentiful and set at a time when, apparently the world was shrouded in a brown mist. Through the murk you see some nifty 15th century style Parkour, plenty of swordplay, and, of course, the Fassbender Glare©. Director Justin Kurzel and cast take things a little too seriously—extolling ideas about the eradication of violence etc—but when they’re not talking “Assassin’s Creed” is quite silly and a bit of fun.