Michael Fassbender in Assassin’s Creed (Photo: Fox)
★ (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Justin Kurzel
STARS Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard
The search for a worthy video-game adaptation continues to rank up there with the search for the Holy Grail — good luck finding either — and Assassin’s Creed ensures that the hunt will go on for at least a little while longer.
Assassin’s Creed is many things, and none of them good. Narratively, it’s the most boring film of 2016, stultifying enough to risk sliding audience members right into comatose states. Visually, it’s the ugliest movie of 2016 — and keep in mind that I saw Robert De Niro’s prosthetic penis in Dirty Grandpa. And emotionally, it’s a complete flatline, with even a laxative commercial offering more opportunities for laughter, tears and what-not. It also represents a spectacular waste of talent, with Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Brendan Gleeson among the formidable actors braying for their blood money.
The plot deals with surly Callum Lynch (played by Fassbender) being hooked up to a machine that allows him to experience the trials and tribulations of his ancestor, a Spaniard named Aguilar (played by Kevin James in a rare dramatic role; just kidding; also played by Fassbender). Aguilar is a member of the Assassins, which means he must fight the members of the Templars as they all search for the apple from the Garden of Eden. This paves the way for boring action scenes, boring characterizations, and boring exchanges that make even the notes from an HOA meeting sound riveting.
Last year found Fassbender and Cotillard co-starring in a film based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth; this year finds them co-starring in Assassin’s Creed. I’m sure an entire term paper can be written on what this signifies about the current state of Hollywood or on what this says about the battle between art and commerce, but since we’re on the subject of the Bard, he can best sum up this “bolting-hutch of beastliness” known as Assassin’s Creed with a choice Macbeth quip: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”