Assassin’s Creed

Making movies based on video games has had a dubious history when it comes to cinematic success. While “Resident Evil” and “Warcraft” found decent success, films such as “DOOM”, “Super Mario Bros”, “Wing Commander”, and others crashed and burned hard at the box office. The reason for this was explained to me once by Director Uwe Boll who has crafted numerous titles based on video games and has suffered harsh feedback from fans and critics as a result.

Boll explained to me that many times you are only getting the name from a game and some of the characters but there is often a long list of things you cannot do from the game developers which often includes visuals, stories, and content that was used in the games as well as areas that might be used for potential sequels down the road.

So with such restrictive rules, one would ask yourself why anyone would want to take the risk. The answer like all things in Hollywood is money as game based movies already have a built in audience, and all one needs to do is successfully tap into that audience successfully and you can have a successful film and perhaps a series.

With this in mind, developer Ubisoft is looking to bring many of their games to the screen and unlike most game companies, they are taking a very hands-on approach to the process as they were active though all parts of the process from casting to the choice of Director and writers.

Their first effort is “Assassin’s Creed”, which is based on their very popular and successful series of games which combine historical settings with plenty of action and intriguing plots.

The film stars Michael Fassbender as Cal Lynch, who is about to be executed for murdering a criminal. Cal awakens to find that he has been given a new lease on life thanks to Sofia (Marion Cotillard) and her father Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), who run an institute dedicated to the elimination of violence.

Of course there is more to the story than Cal is told and he is strapped into a machine that allows him to experience the memories of one of his ancestors in Spain who was a skilled assassin. Cal ventures back in time again and again, as he attempts to locate a mysterious object that was last known to be in the possession of his ancestor, unaware that there is a much larger game underway with the fate of humanity in the balance.

The film makes a good effort as there are some nice visuals and action sequences, but unfortunately they are too few and far between and the film suffers from a stale narrative and dull characters which is surprising considering the talent that is attached to it.

This is not to say that it is a bad film, but rather it is not very memorable and is something that once seen is likely easy to forget and does not inspire enthusiasm for more which puts a crimp in the plans for the sequels. Time will tell how the film does, but it looks sadly like yet another effort that comes up lacking.

3 stars out of 5.