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Video Game Hokum

Saturday, December 31, 2016
By Deepa Gahlot

Assassin’s Creed
Director:
Justin Kurzel
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling and others
Rating: * *

With actors like Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons and Charlotte Rampling in the cast, most moviebuffs would suppress their suspicion of video game franchises and give Justin Kurzel’sAssassin’s Creed a shot. They would endure it at best, regret it at worst.

Bunging mythology, religion, pseudo-science, and parkour-style rooftop stunts, the film still remains wearying dull.

Fassbender plays Callum Lynch, a criminal sentenced to death by lethal injection. He wakes up in a lab with 'I am a scientist' Sophia Rikkin (Cotillard), who works for her father’s (Irons) Abstergo Industries. This bizarre enterprise ostensibly working towards eradicating violence, is actually a side of the Knights Templar, seeking to control free will. For this, they will have to find the 'Apple of Eden', hidden for centuries by the Templars' enemies, the Assassins, because it contains the genetic code for free will, or some such giggleworthy nonsense.

It turns out that Lynch is the descendent of an Assassin called Aguilar, so Sophia plugs him into a machine called 'Animus', which taps into 'genetic memory', which sends him back in time to relive his ancestor’s experiences, so that he can lead the Templars to the Apple. Lynch is sent back to 15th-century Spain, where his ancestor Aguilar snatches the Apple that has almost reached the hands of the enemy. This involves a chariot race, escaping an Inquisition pyre, and much jumping off rooftops, and Christopher Columbus making a guest appearance. (Really!) The action and effects are workmanlike, when spectacular was required to make the film somewhat watchable.

This used to be a game, so obviously there is little plot, almost no complexity and very little emotional engagement, in spite of Lynch’s trauma over witnessing his mother’s death, when he was a child. Cottilard looks baffled and wide-eyed throughout, occasionally arguing against her stone-faced father’s questionable methods.

In his modern-day incarnation, Fassbender is shirtless a lot of the time, and mostly gnashing his teeth. He is one of the producers of the film, and the way it ends abruptly with a meaningful sideways look by the star, there is more to come. Hopefully, the money is good enough for Fassbender to even consider doing such films.

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