Assassin's Creed SPOILER-FREE Review
I actually really like the Assassin's Creed video games. I've played a couple of them, and they're very entertaining games. So when I heard they were turning it into a movie, I was incredibly optimistic. There's a lot of rich material to pull from to make a really exhilarating and compelling film. But I really got on board when they announced the cast. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons are incredible talents, and I thought they would definitely add an extra layer to this movie that would make it all the more special. We have yet to have a good video game movie adaptation, and it looked like all the pieces were in place for Assassin's Creed to become the first good one. But then the reviews came out and they said it was really bad. So I went in with my expectations checked, but still expecting to be entertained. I was not prepared for just how bad this movie is. I am not using hyperbole when I say this was the worst movie I've ever seen in theaters. I was in complete awe of how this movie was even made.
After being revived by the Assassins, Callum Lynch (Fassbender) enters a machine called the Animus in order to relive the memories of his ancestor Aguilar in 15th Century Spain, where he must retrieve the missing Apple of Eden and keep it out of the hands of the oppressive Templar organization.
I don't ask for much in this world. I really don't. I just want good movies. When I can't get good movies, I ask for mediocre movies. If I can't get mediocre movies, I ask for competent movies at the least. This film is beyond belief. I could not believe what was happening on screen. Think of every possible way not to do an Assassin's Creed movie, and they did it. The script is a mess, the dialogue is atrocious, the performances are over-the-top, the action is frustrating, the editing is mind-boggling... nothing in this movie works. There are two positive things I can say about this film. The costume design is fantastic, because it really captures the essence of the game. The action choreography is great as well. The action didn't look good on screen due to reasons I'll elaborate on later, but at least it was well choreographed. Those are the only two positive things I can say about this movie, because the rest of it is a joke. Assassin's Creed rips off so many movies so blatantly that I started to keep track. Here are just a few of the films it rips off-- The Matrix, Mad Max, Guardians of the Galaxy, Alien, James Bond, Fast and the Furious, Wanted. Not only did it carry over the tone and feel of those films, but exact sequences from those movies were copied in Assassin's Creed. We have a car chase that is right out of Mad Max: Fury Road. Same desert terrain. Same kind of music. Same kind of action. But the most obvious rip off was a building chase scene that was a shot for shot remake of the beginning of The Matrix. It had the exact same shots and camerawork, complete with the same slowed, zoom-in air shots of the characters jumping and landing. I couldn't believe it was happening.
I'm going to go into some details about the beginning of the movie. I wouldn't consider this spoilers because it's literally the beginning of the movie, but if you don't want to know anything, just skip this paragraph. Assassin's Creed stole Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's crawl text, because it begins with a lengthy, dull crawl text that serves as the most lazy use of exposition. It's what would happen if the Star Wars crawls weren't exciting or fun, but just blocks of text on screen. It was just paragraphs of blatant exposition. Then after a confusing scene with the Asssassins all gathered speaking in Spanish, we cut to a tracking shot of an eagle with an 80's rock song blasting in the background. This was clearly borrowing from Guardians of the Galaxy, and the shot in no way fit into this film. It was at that point that I started to suspect that this going to be a special kind of bad. Then we get the whammy-- we see Michael Fassbender's character as a kid. I never even thought that was a possibility. We see him coming home from school, getting picked on by bullies, the whole thing. The film then immediately fast forwards to him on Death Row, where he's killed, and then wakes up with Marion Cotillard. He is then immediately put into the Animus (we're only like ten to fifteen minutes into the movie at this point) and he is suddenly in Spain, kicking ass as an Assassin. No training, no explanation. He just suddenly knows what to do. I couldn't believe it was happening. And of course, Marion Cotillard's character just has to be Jeremy Irons' daughter. This movie falls into every cliche possible to make this feel like a 90's throwaway B movie.
I was hoping that the action sequences would save this movie, but they're one of the most frustrating elements of the film. As I mentioned earlier, the choreography was really good, but we didn't get to see any of it because of shaky-cam and rapid editing. All these action shots were just thrown together while the camera shakes. But the worst part was that every single shot would cut back to Michael Fassbender in the Animus acting it out. So in Spain he would raise his sword and be lowering it on a soldier, and then it would cut to him in the Animus slicing into the air. If they had just cut to the Animus once or twice during these action scenes, that would've been fine. But this was literally every single shot was cutting back and forth. I couldn't get into the action, and I was having a hard time understanding what was going on. The dialogue was horrendous. I wrote down a couple lines because I couldn't believe just how bad it was. "Why are you being so aggressive?" Marion Cotillard says to Michael Fassbender, who responds with. "I'm an aggressive person." There were other lines in this movie that I openly laughed at because of how cringe-worthy and atrocious they were.
Once you get into the movie and you realize what the actual plot of this film is, it's truly incredible. The Assassins want Michael Fassbender to retrieve the Apple of Eden so that they can cleanse humanity of violence. Are you kidding me? They want to take away people's violent thoughts? This movie is nothing like Assassin's Creed. Aside from the costume design and the fact that they are using the Animus, there is nothing in this movie that links it to the video game. It feels a lot like other video game movie adaptations, like Doom, where they just make a movie and slap the title on it. This movie has barely any resemblance to the game, and will only make fans of the series angry. I saw it with a friend of mine who's a huge fan of the video games, and he was furious with how this movie openly sh*ts on the video games. I also have to say that the acting is over-the-top in the worst of ways. Characters being super dramatic when the scene barely warrants it. Characters screaming and yelling like it was a Lifetime movie. The characters weren't developed and I didn't care about anyone. There was one point where Michael Fassbender suddenly turns crazy and starts singing, but just for a few minutes. The next scene he's back to normal. That's the kind of movie we're dealing with here.
I couldn't finish this review without talking about the editing. Just so you get an idea, there was one shot where Michael Fassbender had a knife to someone's throat. The camera is panning in. Suddenly, there's a jumpcut and it begins panning in again. I can't even describe that as amateurish, because even basic film students know not to cut a shot like that. And the editing for the action sequences was so messy and disjointed that I couldn't even follow it. I don't know what happened with the editing, because Christopher Tellefsen was the editor, and he has an Academy Award nomination. How does he go from editing Moneyball to this? The CGI was equally as terrible. Director Justin Kurzel made a big splash online when he talked about how little special effects there was going to be, and that it would be mostly practical. That's bullsh*t, because not only is there tons of CGI, but it's awful looking. There were some of the most obvious green screens I have seen in a big budgeted film. In turn, there were some beautiful landscapes used for establishing shots, but it just made the latter CGI shots all the more noticeable.
Guys, I don't know what the f*ck happened with this movie. I am still in complete shock that it was like this. I walked out after an hour, because I couldn't sit there for another hour and a half to watch this piece of sh*t any longer. And I never walk out of movies. Like, never. Assassin's Creed rips off so many different movies that it is never its own film. It has such direct and overt ties to films like The Matrix and James Bond, that it just becomes utterly ridiculous. Especially when they begin stealing direct scenes from other movies and recreating them. The screenplay is atrocious. Not only does the dialogue fall completely flat, but the plot itself sounds like a sh*tty James Bond spoof. That's what this movie feels like in a lot of ways- a spoof movie. The action choreography is really good, but we can't seen any of it because the camera shakes the whole damn time, and it constantly cuts back to the characters in the Animus. The CGI is garbage, and it's some of the lowest quality special effects I've seen in a large budgeted movie. The editing is so sporadic and mindless that I had a hard time even comprehending it. This is one of those films like The Happening where it's just so bad you laugh at it and wonder how it even got made. It is by far the worst film I've seen this year, and that I've seen in theaters period. This movie is complete garbage. If you are a fan of the video games, don't go see this movie. You'll only get upset with just how awful this sh*t is.
What do you think? Have you seen Assassin's Creed? Did you like the film? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below.
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