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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Movie Review: Assassin's Creed (2016)

What would you do if you found out you were part of a secret society? In December 2016, Cal found out his ancestors have been fighting an ongoing war and now it's his turn to join the fight.

Directing this 115 minute action/adventure/drama is Justin Kurzel.

Some of the cast is: Michael Fassbender as Cal Lynch/Aguilar, Marion Cotillard as Sofia, Hovik Keuchkerian as Ojeda  and Jeremy Irons as Rikkin.

For Centuries a battle has been fought between two secret societies known as the Templars and the Assassins. One side wants to control the world, while the other side wants to protect it. If the Templars can find the Apple of Eden then they can finally put their plans into motion. Problems is, the Apple was lost somewhere in time. If the Templars are right, a man named Cal might have the information to its location hidden deep inside his memories. Through some revolutionary technology, the Templars have a way to unlock Cal's genetic memories and relive moments of his ancestors. If it works, the Apple could finally be within their reach and the world could be in some serious trouble.

I've been a big Assassin's Creed fan for awhile now. I got hooked after playing the first video game (Assassin's Creed), which came out in 2007 and became Ubisoft's best-selling franchise. So far there are nine games that were developed by Ubisoft Montreal (single player) and Ubisoft Annecy (multiplayer), along with some spin-off titles. The Assassin's fan base quickly grew and over time has spawned comics, novels, more games (handheld & mobile) and now a live-action film. The game's storyline is about a "centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control." What I dig about the video game is the way they came up with a storyline combining fictional stories & characters with real-world historical events & figures.
                                               

The screenplay that Adam Cooper, Michael Lesslie, and Bill Collage came up with is based on the Unisoft video game series Assassin's Creed by Patrick Desilets, Corey May and Jade Raymond. What I liked about the storyline is, just like the games, it's anchored in the present but you travel back in time and get two stories blended together. With the whole traveling through time thing there's plenty of stories to be told and while the movie is tied to the AC (Assassin's Creed) franchise, the writers actually came up with a stand-alone story that plays out like the games. For the most part, I liked the story, but certain parts of the story felt forced or rushed so we could hurry up and move on with things, which makes the story weak in spots.

After the main character, Cal Lynch, is brought into the bad guy's Headquarters, Abstergo, you find out there are other people being held there for the same reason as Cal. Having those other captives made for a cool big battle, but I think the story would have been better off if they had cut out the other captive's side of the story and used that time to smooth out the main storyline.

I thought the playthrough was really good and it held my attention. For the gamers, yeah, they changed how some things work for the movie. In the game they use a high-tech piece of equipment, like a  chair or table, to send the user back in time. The movie upgraded the chair to a moving harness that amps up the visuals. So instead of just laying there the wearer actually acts out what they are physically doing in the past. Sounds weird, but cool to watch and made for some killer scene transitions.
                                                 

The cast did a good job, but with the big name stars in this one, I expected more from the cast.

All across the board with the scenery, time transitions (present to past), fight scenes and customs you can tell they really put a lot of work into everything and it shows because it looked great. As someone who's played the game, they brought over some well-known scenes from the game to the movie and filled the background with a bunch of hidden (game based) treasures, which was awesome to see. Now, I mention the game a lot, but the cool thing is you don't have to know anything about the game to enjoy the movie.

Side note: Back in March 2016, it was stated that New Regency was looking to turn the film into a franchise and that two additional films are planned. Now, if news of the sequels doesn't tickle your fancy, how about a T.V. show? Apparently, both Ubisoft and Netflix are in talks to develop a live-action Assassin's Creed T.V. series. Personally, my fancy is tickled by both pieces of news, but then again my fancy is easily tickled. (You probably didn't need to know that... sorry.)

Overall, as a gamer and movie go-er, I enjoyed this one. So, if you're looking for an action flick to kill some time on, then here you go.

It's rated PG-13 for violence and language.

3 stars