Genre: Videogame Adaptation
Directed by: Justin Kurzel
Run time: 116 minutes
The Lowdown: Confession time, boils and ghouls: BVB has never played a second of an Assassin’s Creed videogame, so you will have to forgive if we whiff on some of the finer gaming points.
But Hollywood’s obsession with cracking the code in transferring a videogame title to box office gold remains strong, despite the litany of past flops, ranging from Super Mario Bros. and Doom to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Assassin’s Creed seemed poised to break the streak, if only because of the sick A-list cast it accrued, including Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons.
And, truth be told, for about 25 minutes or so, it actually hooked me with its bonkers, mind-screw approach to telling the story of Callum Lynch, a generations-removed descendant of Master Assassin Aguilar, whose sole purpose in life is to stop the Knights Templar from getting their fanatic hands on something called the Apple of Eden, which is believed to hold the seeds of free will. The Knights want to eradicate free will in a bid to create a utilitarian society.
But just after Fassbender, as Lynch, is resurrected, so to speak, post-death penalty execution, wakes up in a secret laboratory facility and is strapped into the Animus, which resembles a mechanical tentacle arm from a Sentinel in The Matrix franchise, the film just falls apart.
Sure, some of the mind-meld moments when Lynch’s consciousness hooks up with Aguilar and he engages in some crazy battle ballet moments against the Knights Templar are pretty cool.
But there’s just too much talking.
Pro tip: If you need pages and pages of exposition to explain what the hell is happening in your movie, it’s time to go back to the board and start over with a more simplistic approach.
And the ending – holy crap, the ending. Talk about the definition of anti-climactic.
I think it’s safe to say a franchise has not been born.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Marion Cotillard.
Nudity – No.
Gore – No.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – The Knights Templar.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Robocop 2: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Factory, 117 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Written by graphic artist icon Frank Miller, and directed by Irvin Kershner (Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back), Robocop 2 takes Paul Verhoeven’s cult classic and goes full-on comic book, imagining a Detroit, MI where local police are under corporate control even as city streets devolve into anarchy. Released in 1990, it’s fair to say no one could have possibly known how prescient the film would eventually become. Miller’s wicked screenplay likely aimed to satirically anticipate a future where Detroit was all-but-reduced to a third-world nation while fat-cat one-percenters soaked in hot tubs and sipped champagne at 8 a.m. Yeah, that’s not really so much of a stretch anymore. This deluxe collector’s edition from Shout! Factory, paired with a high-def re-release of Robocop 3 (which should be forgotten) has spectacular picture quality and sound. If you already forked over cash for MGM’s 2014 Robocop Trilogy Collection, it might be time to consider selling that off and picking up the Shout! Factory editions instead.
The Quiet Hour (Monarch Home Entertainment, 85 minutes, Unrated, DVD): Director Stephanie Joalland’s apocalyptic alien invasion thriller, The Quiet Hour, plays like a better version of The 5th Wave, with a strong lead performance by Dakota Blue Richards. It doesn’t reinvent the sci-fi genre wheel, but it has enough tension and interesting ideas to satisfy a lazy afternoon on the couch.
Robocop 3: Collector’s Edition
When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Faith
A Kind of Murder
Live by Night
Now on Video-on-Demand:
Atomica (SyFy Films, 81 minutes, Unrated, VOD): A futuristic slice of nuclear sci-fi, Atomica makes good use of its central location, a remote nuclear power plant. Dominic Monaghan has been on a streak lately with several above-average genre offerings, including this and Pet. Plus, who can complain about seeing Tom Sizemore actually acting instead of playing a sad version of himself on TV.