Assassin’s Creed (dir. Justin Kurzel, 2016) felt like a film trapped by its desire to stay close to its game origins. At times the film tries to take its time-travel-through-blood-connections theme seriously, while at other times it sticks to its theme that the Knight Templars are an evil organization dedicated to wiping out the human ability to have free will. I’m not sure that either would work, but the back-and-forth is tough to explain in a film (and I didn’t play the game, but I can’t imagine that the expository sections of the game devoted to making these connections clear were among game-players favorites).
- This film features the assassins in full-on game mode at times, as we see the characters running through the streets and doing parkour on the sides of buildings and off wagons and all other kinds of obstacles. The Assassins can kill dozens? hundreds? of soldiers without many of them dying. I almost felt like the game was in god mode.
- And yet Jeremy Irons is in this thing, playing the kind of guy who wants to rule the world.
- The other piece of this film that kept me wondering is the costuming. The hooded assassins look really cool, and the armor and weapons look real (heavy, real weapons that a soldier would carry). The combat, though, comes straight from the game – there are no shield walls or lances forward or standing as a group, just lots of meat for the assassins to practice their cool combo moves on. In that sense, I think, the film never pretends to be more than it is…