Review: ‘Assassins Creed’ Is an Insult to Gaming Fans Everywhere

[Editor's Note] If you like what we do, please consider becoming a patron. Thank you.

Become a Patron!

The film Assassins Creed made me wish for the sweet relief of death. Death would have at least allowed me to escape the assault on the senses that was this truly horrific film. Why? Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this mess? Even if you are a fan of the video game, this film doesn’t do it justice, it makes me want to find the creators of the game and throat punch them rapidly. Even with a solid cast Micheal Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons, this film is the equivalent of a sinking ship (one that cost 130 million dollars to make).

Didn’t Hollywood learn their lesson when Warcraft was poorly received? Can anyone reading this tell me of one instance where a video game was successfully (emphasis on the word successful) adapted for the big screen? Alas, no-one can and here we are once again on the precipice on yet another disastrous idea.

Assassin's Creed

The film centers around a convicted killer named Cal Lynch (Fassbender). He’s on death row for murdering a pimp and is about to be executed via lethal injection. The scene then poorly transitions to a massive overseas lab where we see Lynch waking up and two scientists played by Jeremy Irons and Marion Cotillard are thrilled.

Lynch gets taken to this seedy looking lab and attached to a device that looks as if it’s been repurposed from the film Avatar and he believes that he’s in 1492. Lynch comes to realize that his ancestors were part of an elite group of assassins who were sworn to protect the world from the forces of the Templar. The Templar are seeking out the Apple of Eden because of its insight into human behavior and the ability to control people too.  What lynch doesn’t realize is that these scientists actually are part of the Templar group as well (dramatic sound effect). While I’m sure this revelation certainly floored all of you, just know that Fassbender’s character isn’t going to give up so easy (eye roll).

What made Ubisoft studios think that hiring the director who did Macbeth last year was such a great idea? Justin Kurzel benefited last year benefitted from a nicely staged version of one of Shakespeare’s classic plays.   Not to mention both Fassbender and Cotillard are pretty outstanding in that film as well. What made them think that this was the guy or even the cast to pull this off?

The writing in the film is heavy (uses a ton of big words when they aren’t needed), boring and will elicit more laughter than any gasp of excitement. Why would you write a film about a very popular video game and have the film take place a majority of the time, OUTSIDE THE VIDEO GAME? Correct me if I’m wrong here, but aren’t those the fans you want to draw into this film? Why would you spend a majority of the time outside of it? This is yet another example of Hollywood developing a great idea and showing little forethought after that.

Going forward, studios are going to have to seek out directors who are also avid gamers to correctly tackle this source material. Until that occurs, we are going to continue to get one bad adaptation after another. Bringing in a fan of the source material to direct can work and the perfect example of that was Tim Miller (avid comic book collector and director of Deadpool). I think that turned okay .. don’t you?

Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.

4 COMMENTS

  1. “tell me of one instance where a video game was successfully (emphasis on the word successful) adapted for the big screen?” um.. I can give you two- Resident Evil and Tomb Raider. Also, here’s a bit of free advice, if i you want to look like you know what you’re writing about, it may be better to actually know what you’re writing about.

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but aren’t those the fans you want to draw into this film?

    You are absolutely wrong. The reason why most video game movies fail is because in order to make money you can’t rely solely on the fans of the video game. Here’s why. The first Assassin’s Creed sold 8 million copies as of 2009, which is 2 years after initial release. It’s probably fair to say that it didn’t sell too much more over 10 million over the course of the following 7 years. The average price of a movie ticket in the US is $8.61. So that means that if you get just the fans of the game you’re gonna pull in about 86 million. That’s only a little over half the cost of making the movie. Big budget movies require mass appeal, and achieving mass appeal while staying true to the source content is very difficult. You mentioned that Warcraft was a failure, but that really depends on your definition of failure. As an experiment in staying to to the source material it was a massive success, which in turn lead to limited appeal in the marketplace. Fortunately it was very successful in China. But in all it was the highest grossing video game movie of all time so to say it was a failure is pretty much wrong all the way around.

  3. I disagree that this movie is an insult to gaming fans. As video games movies go this was so much better and better then a lot of major action movies. I do agree that they should of spent more time in the game world. Staying in it for an extended time maybe even to the mid point.

  4. Wait. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to get the impression that you’re bashing this film solely because it was not actually set in 1492 and that the main protagonist is “attached to a device that looks as if it’s been repurposed from the film Avatar”?

    Can you provide any examples of having “the film take place a majority of the time, OUTSIDE THE VIDEO GAME”?

    All of the past scenes in the AC franchise have always been a sort “computer simulation” with 2012 assassin-descendant Desmond explores his ancestral memory by using the Animus (this is the “Avatar-looking” device).

    Or were you objecting to the fact that they didn’t use Desmond as the assassin descendant in the film version?

Comments are closed.