Director: Justin Kurzel
Writers: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons
Historically it has never been a shrewd choice to get involved with game franchises. Quite what and how Fassbender and Cotillard got involved in this particular fun filled visual treat is beyond me. Maybe Kurzel had some dirt on them after their last film together, or he got them to sign the contract while drunk at an after event party. I don’t know. Despite all that, Fassbender puts on his best face and for once I thought this might actually buck the trend of game adaptations.
With the likes of Fassbender, Gleeson, the beautiful and equally talented Coltillard and the ever amazing Jermony Irons (well ok maybe not Irons as he was also daft enough to appear in Dungeons & Dragons) you would think you’re pretty straight on for a solid film right? Even one with the film curse to be based off of a video game. Well, once again, it seems the curse is the much stronger still. They may as well have just asked Uve Boll to direct it, roped Ms Minogue in and have had done with it.
Add in a script that no less than three different people worked on (never a good idea folks), a relatively unknown director living off the coattails of a semi-successful first film in his home country (based upon nothing else but shocks and extreme visual elements, the film itself is not that good) and a cast that must have turned up for the paycheque rather than any sense of a chance of the Oscars (though Fassbender and Cotillard did work under Kurzel in Macbeth) then you might be forgiven for thinking that you might have a bit of a mess of a film on your hands. You would be correct.
Anyway, according to the opening titles, for centuries, the order of the Knights Templar have searched for the mythical Apple of Eden. They believe it contains not only the seeds of man’s first disobedience, but the key to the free will itself. And maybe to a decent video game crossover film? No, didn’t think so. That’s even too much for the Templar’s and Illuminati to manage. Regardless, opening to this narrative to the Knights Templar we are then taken to a deep underground complex where unfortunately the film makers were not tortured without mercy. Sorry, I digress.
A rather interesting and slightly confusing scene in Mexico is joined with us seeing Cal Lynch (Fassbender) awaiting his execution. Only he isn’t. Well he is, in his mind, but the old nefarious secret orginsations are interfering in peoples lives again. You know the stuff of which I speak. All terribly inconvenient when you say your final goodbyes and then wake up very much alive in a secret underground complex at the mercy of those who ‘rescued’ you.
Cal quickly learns of his ancestral past and a way in which he can access the memories of said ancestor. For those of you have know the game series, the animus and it’s workings will be familier. This film does also somewhat tie into Assassins Creed: Origins despite Ubisoft stating they wanted to keep the two separate. But then hey, Ubisoft, as cancerous a gaming company as EA is these days.
The audio is rather shocking, in that while the score is reasonably good by the standards of this kind of film, it literally pretty much drowns everything else out. You know my views on bad audio in films. If the adult industry can get it right, a Hollywood film with a one hundred and twenty-five million dollar budget certainly has no excuse. The score is pretty good though in the ‘Spanish’ sections of the film.
Visually the film looks nice, if one can see past all the dust. I’m sure they actually imported dust in by the container full. By the time the film ends, you’ll be metaphorically dusting yourself off there is that much of it. The set-piece action scenes are passable as they should be with this kind of budget but the constant back and forth between the real world and the memories/past grates very quickly. We get it, I got it and my damn cat got it.
Acting is reasonably good but all have been and can do much better. Cotillard, Gleeson and Irons are largely unused and have rather reserved roles which really could have been played by anyone. In fact I would say the only real highlight in this average fare are the costumes and set designs, both of which are excellent. To sum up, save yourself the bother and just go and watch The Prince of Persia instead.
The Sage’s Rating: