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Reviews Film / Assassins Creed 2016

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12/28/2016 15:16:07 •••

Flawed, but Admirably Faithful

From the outset, this movie adaptation of Assassin's Creed was going to be troubled. Who it chose to follow, how much lore it was going to incorporate, and the inability to let viewers explore the world at their own pace like the games do were all hurdles to overcome, and unfortunately, they stumbled on pretty much all of them. The new protagonist is kinda bland and the ancestor doesn't get enough screentime, the lore feels very condensed and lacks a lot of explanation for newcomers, and the inability to flesh out Spain of 1492 leaves much to be desired.

However, I do not think the film is a failure on all fronts, and in fact is a welcome reprieve from the standard vidja game movies we've gotten in the past few decades (Warcraft, Tomb Raider, and Prince of Persia come to mind). The depiction of the Assassins, the Templars, Abstergo, and the ideological conflict of each are all perfectly in line with those of their video game counterparts, even if they are a bit simplified due to time constraints. The Assassins in particular are portrayed spectacularly, from their clothing to their styles of fighting, and the combat sequences (at least the ones set in the past) feel very much like watching part of one of the games play out. You can tell that the production team really cared about being faithful to the source, especially with their creation of functioning Hidden Blades for the sake of realism in the fights.

I think the problems that this film suffers from - a jumbled plot, fairly shallow characters, and relatively little time actually being set in the past - stem from its 2-hour runtime, which in turn is most likely due to not having enough budget for an extra 30 mins/1 hour; the Spain sequences look like they must have eaten up a lot of the production budget for their scale and complication. With any luck, if there's a sequel (which the ending sets up for), Ubisoft will realize this and make it a 3 hour movie. I honestly believe that would resolve most, if not all the issues of this film.

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