ASSASSIN'S Creed has the bones of a good movie, but they're labouring under a needlessly overwritten storyline.
The latest big screen adaptation of a popular video game franchise, the film follows inmate Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender).
Saved from death row by Sofia (Marion Cotillard), a mysterious woman from the powerful Knights Templar organisation, the troubled criminal wakes up inside a sleek scientific/medical facility.
Through flashbacks to his traumatic childhood we learn Callum is the direct descendant of a master assassin, Aguilar, and that his mother died to keep his identity a secret.
This makes him valuable to the Templars, who are trying to track down the Apple of Eden - an ancient artifact hidden by Aguilar which apparently holds the key to humanity's free will.
To discover what happened to the apple in 15th century Spain, it's last known location, the Templars use a machine called the Animus to tap into Callum's DNA 'memory' to retrace Aguilar's steps.
Have I lost you yet?
There is so much information to absorb in this film, which jumps back and forth between the present day and Aguilar's 15th century mission, that it's easy to get lost along the way.
The age-old battle between the secret society of do-or-die assassins and the Templars, who have deeply entrenched themselves in the political and religious systems of power, is an interesting concept but there's just not enough time in this one movie to explore both that and Callum/Aguilar's specific storylines.
This is certainly a well-made and well-cast film in comparison to a lot of recent video game adaptations. The real-life stunts (including the iconic Leap of Faith free fall undertaken by stuntman Damien Walters) are breathtaking and the fight-scene choreography is impressive.
Fans of the video games will no doubt lap this up but this overly stuff world is likely to leave many other cinema-goers' heads spinning.
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Ariane Labed, Brendan Gleeson.
Director: Justin Kurzel
Verdict: 2.5/5 stars
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