Highly Suspect Reviews: Assassin's Creed | One of Us

Highly Suspect Reviews: Assassin’s Creed

2 Submitted by on Wed, 21 December 2016, 10:59
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Michael Fassbender plays a bad dude. After a short ‘when he was young’ segment, the first time we see his character, he’s being trussed up to be given a lethal injection for his murderous crimes. Fortunately for him it’s a ruse, and a big corporation led by today’s version of the Knights Templar that have death row connections have secreted him away to their huge techy compound in Milan where they want him to connect to their big machine (THE CLAW!) and live out the memories of his assassin ancestor (also played by Fassbender) so he can tell them where an ancient artifact is. But, you know, they’re evil. And he’s kinda evil too. I think. Or something. Hell, I couldn’t figure it out. Chris, Beau, and Frank put their heads together the best they can on this review.

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Born in the wilds of northern Virginia, in 1992 Chris managed to put all of his survival skills to use and barely escaped with his life to Austin Texas, where ever since he’s dabbled in everything from plumber’s assistant to sandwich maker, from band to bar management. An opportunity to see theatrical release films for free, by becoming a critic on a local public access show called “The Reel Deal”, turned into a full time job when Chris and his friends decided to take it to the internet. They built the site Spill.com, adding multiple podcasts and animated features, to no small amount of success. During this time, a fortuitous friendship sprung up between Chris and young Brian Salisbury, who was also a local film critic, and they merged their forces of will, and their laundry list of ideas for shows, to eventually build this paradise you see before you.
  • Renwick Davis

    I’m a huge fan of Assassin’s Creed. The philosophies of the Assassins and Templars are fascinating and provides for a good backdrop for a video game series that allows for many places that the series can go. That being said there are parts of the series that just don’t work, and one of those is the modern day aspect not because it can’t be interesting, but because the developers essentially only use it as a frame story that never goes anywhere. The film should have taken advantage of the adaptation effect and improved upon the source material and taken the modern day stuff out entirely. It’s not needed for the story and dilutes it too much for a 2 hour or less story. The focus should have strictly been on the historical time period with time and effort put into making the Assassin philosophy and way of life work. There is so much wrong with this film, but my 4 main problems with it are:

    1)The Assassins in this film are barely reminiscent of the game and it really comes off like someone had a passing familiarity with the source material and did a poor job of writing a cliff notes version. In the film they value the creed above all else, but the Creed is only necessary for them to do their work. They don’t worship it like they do in the film. The Assassins hate dogmatism and fanatical belief, and the film makes them come off like zealots with no other defining characteristic, and that hurts the film because it doesn’t paint a nuanced and interesting picture of them The Assassins are supposed to value the sanctity of life and see the strength of humanity as the core of their Brotherhood. They value individuality, love, and humanity not the Creed. The film shows an Assassin saying that love makes us weak, which an Assassin wouldn’t say. They understand that love is a necessary part of life that should be cherished, not ignored, otherwise there isn’t much point in appreciating life. Why protect free will if you can’t enjoy what free will entails?

    2)The Templars are just as bad. Templars, in the film, focus too much on eradicating violence (I’m really beginning to hate that word based on how many times it was said in this fuck of a film) and aggression . Their goal is to instill order and discipline through power and control. Their philosophy goes much deeper than simple violence and aggression. They see human beings as morally corrupt and morally weak. They generally want to help mankind and better the world, but understand that order, safety, and security are needed, and that humans need a ruling class to shepherd and cultivate progress and development. This is why there is a fundamental disagreement between Assassins and Templars. The Assassins see peace as something that needs to be earned and achieved through education and experience because forcing it doesn’t eliminate the root problems that have prevented peace for so long. The Templars believe that humans are too base and tribal to efficiently instill peace, so it falls to them to be the arbiters of how society must be run to create a better functioning and peaceful world.

    3)They barely explain the Apple, and never give a good explanation as to where it came from, what it is, or how it works, and, to add insult to injury, the Assassins seem to only care about guarding the Apple while the Templars seem to only care about finding it. That’s such a small part of the groups’ overall goals and is a means to an end not an end in itself. The Assassins aren’t designed to solely protect an Apple, but to promote and spread their philosophy, which sometimes involves strategic, precise, and political assassination. Furthermore, they never provide a good sense of how widespread both groups are or mention the other Pieces of Eden or operations that the Templars have. It makes it seem like they are useless unless they find the Apple, which takes away the core aspect of the Templars and Abstergo. The

    4)The Animus redesign sucks. It allows them to intercut the historical action scenes with modern day action scenes. It’s jarring and ruins the flow of the action. The limitations of the Animus are too extensive and doesn’t allow for extended periods in the past, which is what you came to see. They place too much emphasis on synchronization with the machine every step of the way that it makes it a chore to use, and even allows for a stupid “Oh shit” moment when Callum finally performs a leap of faith (which they never really showed) from Sophia.

    Overall, the film is a mess. The complex motivations are distilled into overly simplistic and poorly explained drivel, and the cold and serious manner in which the characters deliver this information makes it harder to connect with the story. The purpose of the cutting off the ring finger is to use their hidden blades (although the Assassins got rid of that design flaw/tradition by about 300 years by this point) but the film never explained that. The concepts of genetic memory, animus, and the bleeding effect are barely explained to the point where they might as well not have been bothered to explain it. The game does a much better job of providing a plausible explanation as to how that all works and it only takes about a minute or two. The poorly explained motivations and world building is akin to writing an essay that purports a claim and only writing one sentence to support that claim (e.g. Republicans are bad because they’re wrong or Democrats are stupid because they suck). It’s awful storytelling. I had a feeling that this would be bad, but I didn’t think it would be a monumental fuck up.

    • StayCoolYo

      Video Games by their narrative nature are inherently a poor fit for adapting to the big screen. It’s unfailingly just a cash grab when one is made.