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Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Steve Jobs: The Untold Story

One remembers watching the first Assassin’s Creed demo in 2007 and being wooed by its visuals and its cinematic fluidity. The fact that 10 years later none of the movie even approximately approximates this cinematic level speaks volumes about Hollywood’s conflicting marketing unability to make anything out of anything. As a movie, Assassin’s Creed is almost entirely unwatchable; as a game-inspired movie, its makes a nice bookend with Doom; as a game-inspired movie franchise, it’s dead on arrival.

Should one bother with the story? The prologue establishes that the hero’s father killed the hero’s mother because the hero’s blood was not theirs. And one more for blood purity, a worrying concern for recent alleged blockbusters. Ensues a life of crime after which Michael Fassbender, looking suspiciously handsome, clean-shaven and muscular for a prisoner on Death Row, is executed by the State, only to be ressuscitated by Marion Godzilla. Amply provided with absurd lines by the script, she warns him “You are about to enter the Animus”. There are three know modes for Miss Cotillard: ordinary girl, in which she excels, fabricated heroin, for which she has star power, and vilain’s daughter in auto-pilot. Unfortunately, she’s in full gear third mode here.

She’s “protectress of the Apple” because, see, “the Apple is everything”. Or something. And one more for questionning the nature of reality, thanks to bogus X-ray science she developped in a secret laboratory by peering once or twice in a microscope, surrounded by fake stone pillars, dusty files and glassboxes full of antiques – which surprisingly enough, won’t get smashed this time around. Not that there are no ninjas around, though.

Twenty per cent of the movie shows a CGI eagle flying over CGI nothing while CGI bloodless massacre occurs. Filters vary wildly, and there’s is enough lense flare to suspect JJ Abrams was involved in the production. The insistance of motion capture during the contemporary scenes makes the thing look and feel like a behing the scene documentary of the game’s conception, while the horrendously edited period scenes have all the dramatic impact of an epileptic fit in a smoke machine. Late into the movie, someone utters “Commencing regression”, and it’s much, much too late an awakening of conscience.

Bless the damned thing for a one minute scene opposing Jeremy Irons (who spends half the duration of the movie looking into the abyss, maybe reminiscing the time when he got interesting roles in good movies, and doubtlessly waiting to cash his check) and Charlotte Rampling, who would make any under-written villain interesting. Michael Fassbender looks hot without a shirt on. Godzilla looks lovely with short hair. And last but not least, the line “Steak for the pioneer!” is a valuable entry in our ongoing contest for the most ridiculous line of 2016. Utterly avoidable.

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