Now it has been few months since I have watched a movie based on a video game. The weird thing is, considering the advances in video games over the years, you would figure that a movie would turn out really good. However, most of the times, these movies are absolutely terrible. When today’s movie came out in theaters, I didn’t get a chance to see it because other things kept coming up, which seems to be happening a lot recently. However, I had several friends tell me that I would probably enjoy it so, being me, I decided to take them at their word and pre-order it. So let’s see if my friends were right as I watch today’s movie, Assassin’s Creed.
The plot: In 1492, Aguilar de Nerha is accepted into the Assassin’s brotherhood and tasked with defending Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Templars. If he is captured, the Templars could learn the whereabouts of the Apple of Eden, and with it gain control over all free will. In 1986, young Callum “Cal” Lynch is attempting to jump his bike over rooftops but fails and falls onto a pile of mattresses that he set up in case he failed. Returning home, he finds that his father, Joseph, has killed his mother and when dozens of cars show up to grab Joseph, Joseph convinces Cal to run. Thirty years later, Cal is in prison facing execution for suspected murder but instead of being killed by the drugs, he wakes up some time later in a lab room, where Dr. Sofia Rikkin explains that his death was faked by the Abstergo Foundation. Struggling with the after effects of the drugs, Cal tries to run and Dr. Sofia tells the guards not to touch him. Cal eventually comes to an open air garden and stands on the ledge overlooking the city. One of the men in the garden tells him to jump but he doesn’t and Sofia begins talking to him when security guards, under orders from her father Alan Rikkin, tranquilize him. Cal is prepared for going into the Animus, where Sofia explains that he will be reliving the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, where Abstergo hopes to learn the location of the Apple. In 1492, Aguilar and a squad of assassins reach the village where Prince Ahmed is hiding and manage to stop the Templars from executing some of the villagers and razing the village. Maria, Aguilar’s partner, manages to drive off with the prison cart that Ahmed is in and as Templars, led by Ojeda, chase after her, Aguilar grabs a horse to follow. Aguilar and Maria manage to kill some of their pursuers but when the cart is about to go over a cliff, Aguilar manages to free Ahmed from the cage and avoid falling to his death, just as Sofia orders Cal pulled out of the Animus. That night, Alan questions Sofia about why she pulled Cal and she tells him they have to go slow and build his trust. Some time later, Alan meets with his superior at Abstergo, Ellen Kaye, who says she is pulling the plug on the Animus project but when he tells her that they are close to finding the Apple, she allows it to continue. Back at the facility, Cal is experiencing hallucinations of his time in the Animus and Sofia tells him it is called the Bleeding Effect. When Cal questions what she is doing, she shows him how she has tracked his lineage to Aguilar and explains that the other “patients” are also descendants of assassins. Sofia also tells Cal that her mother was killed by an assassin and instead of turning to violence, like Cal, she turned to science and hopes to use the apple to rid the world of violence, which she sees as a disease. Later, Cal is at the cafeteria and meets Moussa, who is the somewhat leader of the assassin descendant’s in the program, and some of the other descendants feel that Cal is going to lead the Templars to the Apple. Alan pressures Sofia to place Cal back into the Animus and she reluctantly agrees. In his cell, Cal sees an hallucination of Aguilar and begins fighting with him, and he starts thinking he is crazy as the guards come to place him in the Animus. Cal begins singing nonstop and Sofia tries to get him to focus but he continues singing. Back in 1492, Aguilar, Maria, and some other assassins are about to be burned at the stake but Aguilar manages to free himself, then Maria and the two escape. In the present, Sofia watches Cal’s actions and realizes that he is syncing up with Aquilar. Back in 1492, Aguilar and Maria race across the rooftops, fighting Ojeda and Templar soldiers along the way, until they eventually reach a tower, where they preform a leap of faith to escape. The leap causes a violent reaction in Cal, forcing Sofia to pull him out and Cal ends up temporarily paralyzed and as he recovers, he ends up bonding with Sofia. Some time later, Alan pays a visit to Cal and speaks with him and says that he wants the Apple. He then takes Cal to a room full of people that are no longer able to go in the animus and says that Joseph is there, then hands Cal the Assassin’s blade that Joseph used to kill Cal’s mother. Leaving the room, Alan returns to Sofia’s lab, and Sofia tells him this is wrong but Alan says that Cal had to enter the Animus of his own free will in order to get the job done and now he will want to go there to destroy his father. Cal confronts Joseph and Joseph explains about the Apple and that his mother chose to die so she would not be forced to give away it’s location. Cal then tells Joseph that he is going to find the Apple and give it to them in order to destroy him. Later one of the descendants tries to kill Cal but Cal is able to stop him and as the guards take him away, the descendant yells at Call that he is going to kill the Creed. Cal willingly goes back in the Animus, where Aguilar and Maria are watching the Templars force Muhammad to give them the Apple. Once the Templars have the Apple, Aguilar and Maria use smoke bombs to help them ambush the Templars, killing most of them and grabbing the Apple but when the smoke clears, Ojeda has a knife to Maria’s throat while Aguilar is similarly threatening Tomas de Torquemada, the Templar leader. Maria chooses to die in order to keep the Apple safe so Ojeda kills her. Aguilar stabs Tomas then fights with Ojeda but Ojeda overpowers him. Before Ojeda can kill him, Aguilar uses Maria’s hidden blade to stab him, then finally kills him but Tomas manages to unseal the door, allowing more guards to enter. Aguilat manages to escape and eventually gives the Apple to Christopher Columbus, telling him to take it to his grave. Suddenly, Cal is surrounded by visions of his Assassin ancestors, which confuses Sofia and the guards in the chamber. Meanwhile, Moussa and some of the other descendants start a riot and begin fighting their way towards the Animus chamber. Alan orders the facility to be purged, then leaves with Sofia and his head of security as the rest of the security forces kill Joseph and dozens of other Assassins. In the chamber, Cal sees his mother, who tells him he is not alone and has him recite the Assassin’s Creed, causing him to fully embrace his heritage. When Moussa and some other Assassin’s enter the chamber, Cal helps them arm themselves and fight off the guards before they eventually make their escape. At Columbus’ tomb, Alan retrieves the Apple but Ellen tells Sofia that she knows who really found it and says that her time will come. At the Grand Templar Hall in London, Sofia and Alan argue over his lying to her about the reasons for finding the Apple, as she now knows he looked for it only to kill the Assassins, not to benefit mankind. While the Templars are gathering, the Assassins have managed to sneak into the hall and remove the parts they each secretly carried into the hall to assemble an Assassin’s hidden blade, which is given to Cal. As Alan starts to give his speech, Sofia walks away but then stops as she sees Cal approaching and the two talk briefly before he heads past her and kills Alan and retrieves the Apple. As the assembled mass all run from the temple, Sofia approaches her father’s body and says that she did this and after Ellen speaks to her, Sofia leaves with Abstergo’s head of security and looks up into the night, while elsewhere in the city, Cal and the other Assassins stand on a rooftop and renew the Assassin’s vow to protect the Apple.
Assassin’s Creed met with poor reviews from the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.” The Leap of Faith performed in the movie was done with the use of a stunt double, instead of digitally as the production team wanted to make certain elements of the film as real as possible, and the 125 foot jump was one of the highest free falls performed by a stuntman in 35 years. The movie was a modest success, earning $240.5 million off of a $125 million budget.
I will admit, I did expect a bit more from this movie, but all in all it isn’t a bad movie. The acting was good, with Michael Fassbender (Cal) and Marion Cotillard (Sofia) doing a good job in their roles. The basic story was pretty good, and I liked that they used original characters that could be tied into the universe established in the video games but I agree that it did get kind of bogged down by too many plot elements. I mean, you had the story line in the past but in the present, you had three different sub-plots going on; the main one with Cal and Sofia, the Alan/Abstergo/Templar subplot, and the Assassins’ descendants subplot. All of this going on really did slow down the pace of the movie as they tried to work everything in. The fight coordination and special effects were pretty good and did help try and keep the pace of the movie going. Not the best movie out there but it is a good movie to sit and veg to if you are in the mood for an action flick.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5