For decades now, video game fans have been waiting for a good cinematic adaptation of any video game. The live-action adaptation of the historical stealth-action game #AssassinsCreed was seen as the subgenre's savior, due in part to its impressive casting and high production value as well as lead actor (and producer) Michael Fassbender's overall excitement for the project.
Sadly, it seems that #AssassinsCreed won't be saving anything this year if the early reviews are to be believed.
Assassins And The Spanish Inquisition
Based on Ubisoft's popular video game franchise of the same name, Assassins' Creed follows Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) when he is released from one life and into another.
After his execution is faked, Lynch finds himself in the hands of the Abstergo Industries, who then strap him to the Animus machine that allows him to relive the life of his ancestor, the assassin Aguilar de Nerha. Now in 15th Century Spain, Lynch must walk in the footsteps of Aguilar to stop the Templars from achieving their nefarious goals.
Check out the trailer for Assassin's Creed below.
The Critical Inquisition
Majority of the praise Assassin's Creed got is credited to the A-List cast's acting talents, the action sequences set in the 15th Century, and the movie's overall look and design. The same can not be said for the film's apparent slow pacing, poor characterization and reportedly confusing story. Assassin's Creed currently has a dismal 15% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
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Here are some choice quotes from various critics and reviewers who watched the film.
Cinema Blend - Greg Wakeman
But the hope and promise of Assassin's Creed ultimately flitters away thanks to its underwhelming action, incomprehensible plot, and repetitive structure, and it ultimately only adds further weight to the curse of the video game theory.
Collider - Perri Nemiroff
Assassin’s Creed often does look fantastic... But all the riveting roof-top running and hand-to-hand combat in the world won’t make a movie worthwhile if you don’t give a damn about the characters.
IGN - Lucy O'Brien
As Assassin’s Creed struggles towards its conclusion... one can’t help but feel disappointed in a film that got the style of the series so right, yet its heart so wrong.
New York Daily News - Edward Douglas
For years we’ve heard moans that video-game movies are jinxed. Unfortunately, “Assassin's Creed" won’t lift that curse... In the end, it’s game over long before the movie is.
Time - Stephanie Zacharek
Assassin’s Creed the movie is fairly innocuous. It’s also cheerless and dumb... We went all the way back in time with Assassin’s Creed and all we got was this lousy apple. It’s not even a real one.
While most of the reviews gave Assassin's Creed an unenthusiastic reception, a few other critics found more things to enjoy than criticize in 2016's second big video game-based movie.
Though in the minority, here are some encouraging words from critics who had a blast with Assassin's Creed.
Independent - Clarisse Loughrey
Assassin's Creed has probably done the very best it can with the hand it's been dealt with and, really, this might be the best video game adaptation yet. Mind you, that's not saying a huge amount.
IndieWire - David Ehrlich
This bizarre, borderline incoherent action movie becomes the most interesting blockbuster of 2016 because of how defiantly it confronts the expectations of its heritage... the fact of the matter is that it’s the only blockbuster of 2016 that left me desperate for a sequel.
The Future Of Video Game Movies
Based on the film's poor reception, it appears Assassin's Creed isn't the champion for video game movies we'd hoped it would be. Like the first Silent Hill movie and this year's Warcraft, the film's valiant, high-budgeted efforts are not enough to make it a serviceable adaptation of a popular video game or turn the genre's ailing reputation around.
Assassin's Creed is sure to attract the game franchise's hardcore fans, but it's highly unlikely it will capture the imagination of the non-gaming crowd. That's not to say that Assassin's Creed is a waste. At the most, Assassin's Creed may be seen as yet another experiment on the road to perfecting video game movies for a larger audience.