Assassin’s Creed Parent Review
Viewing this movie adaptation of a video game feels like being stuck watching your friend play while you patiently wait for your turn.
Assassin’s Creed is one of the most successful video game franchises of the last decade. From its first release in November of 2007, it has grown to include dozens of versions, comics, books and now a motion picture. Set in the same fictional universe, each story explores a secret war that has been waging for hundreds of years between two groups: The Templar which seeks control over the freewill of mankind so it can unify the world under one rule, and The Assassin’s Creed, a brotherhood sworn to stop them and protect the liberty of the human race.
Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) finds himself in the middle of this ancient battle because he descends from a long line of these Assassins. After being imprisoned and sentenced to death for murder, he awaits his fate in a state of the art holding facility. However, instead of being executed, he finds The Templar wants his DNA. With a machine called “the Animus” the clandestine clan can recreate events from the life of one’s predecessors. They use their invention to send Cal back to the Spanish Inquisition period to relive key moments during the mortality of his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha (also played by Michael Fassbender).
Those unfamiliar with the video games will likely find themselves confused as very little time is spent in the script explaining the historical setting. In fact, very little time is spent explaining anything at all. The brief backstories and introductions make it hard for the characters, including Cal/Aguilar de Nerh to make much of an impression on the audience. Unlike the games, these scant offerings are likely to leave the protagonist unlikeable and his situation unmemorable.
The vast majority of the film is spent on fight scenes that look like they have been cut right out of the games. So much so that viewing this movie feels like being stuck watching your friend play while you patiently wait for your turn.
Nearly all of the action features medieval era weapons. Swords, knives, clubs and arrows are constantly flying across the screen and into the bodies of whoever is in the way. Those not killed by these implements are dispatched by being pushed off buildings or having their necks broken. While most of the portrayals are not graphic, there are a few exceptions. Fallen victims are seen in their own blood. A man stabs a knife into the neck of a woman, another has his throat sliced. And a distant scene shows people being burned at the stake.
The up side to the frequent violence is there’s not a lot of room to depict much else. Sexual content and substance abuse are almost nonexistent and profanities are few, although the sexual expletive is heard once.
Having played Assassin’s Creed over the years, I was eager to see how the story would adapt to the big screen. I was quickly disappointed. To other fans of the series, I suggest you just stay home and play the games.Directed by Justin Kurzel. Starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons . Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release December 21, 2016. Updated March 21, 2017
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Assassin’s Creed here.
Assassin’s Creed Parents Guide
In this movie, the protagonist is fighting to maintain “free will”—meaning the ability for humankind to choose for themselves. Is this a cause worth fighting for? Do we ever obtain true “free will” in our society?
The Assassin’s Creed live by a motto that declares, “Nothing is true; everything is permitted.” There are various interpretations as to what that means. Do you think “free will” means “everything is permitted”? How do consequences fit into this philosophy? Is nothing true?