Assassin’s Creed Review – Intriguing and Surprisingly Good

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Assassin's Creed, from 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises, brings to the screen an epic battle between history and science, good and evil, free will over conditioned responses, and even nurture verses nature in a quest that crosses time.

Directed by Justin Kurzel, Assassin’s Creed stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendon Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, and Michael Kenneth Williams.  Assassin’s Creed was written by Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage and is based on the video game series.

Assassin’s Creed begins in 15th Century Spain, at an induction ceremony of a secret society, who believe in the search for good and evil, and the quest to find the seeds of the first apple, those which sent man toward a destructive end, will cause deep fears, misunderstandings and could ultimately cause death.

Fast forward to the contemporary world, a child, a boy, in Baja, California is one minute an adolescent, playing conquering hero jumping across great divides and heading home discovers his mother dead, murdered at the hand of his father. His childhood stops as he sees the blood dripping, his father standing with the knife.

Commanding the boy’s attention, his father explains our blood is not our own and suddenly they arrive. And Cal, played as a child by Angus Brown, hears his father orders him to run, now. And he does.

The scene fades and the film fast forward again thirty years and Cal, now grown, played by Michael Fassbender is on death row, his time is up, appeals exhausted, a priest is present, behind him ghastly and morbid drawings line the wall.

In manacles and handcuffs, Cal is lead to his end, death by lethal injection. Strapped him, the scene plays very close to an actual execution.  A rush of memories, as it is said often happens at death, the moments of one’s life pass by and the good times comfort as life leaves us even our death row pass across the screen as our prisoner Cal’s life is ending.

Or so it seems. After what appears to be an execution, a disorientated Cal opens his eyes to a very white, very sterile looking environment.

A woman, Sofia, played by Marion Cotillard, explains to Cal he is in an exchange experimental testing facility in Spain. His linage, his DNA, matches that of Aguilar, whom we met in the opening sequences.

Sofia, along with her father, Rikkin, played by Jeremy Irons, run this DNA/VR program that through the power of DNA and the ability to trace the origins, through vertical DNA, of one's entire ancestry and VR technology that allows the person relive the experiences of one’s ancestral past.

Cal, never recovering from a traumatic childhood fought a war from within, as his 15th century ancestor, his counterpart, fought epic physical battles as we see throughout the remainder of the film.

This is where Assassin’s Creed becomes the scientific mind game, enhancing the capabilities of Virtual Reality Cal is thrust into a historical and epic battle. As he meets his ancestors, his lineage and all the enemies of the secret society.

Assassin’s Creed is surprisingly good and intriguing.

The premise, which marries the proven DNA sciences with the technologies of VR, to create this vivid and unique experience of reliving your linage is the most interesting aspect of the film.

Michael Fassbender plays dual characters, the contemporary Cal, whose war is within, and 15th Century Aguilar, whose wars are physical, Fassbender is quite good at separating the characters creating two unique presentations, although we never actually met the 15th century counterpart we only know he is bent toward violence.

The virtual reality aspect of the film is quite good. For those who haven’t been caught up in the VR craze or participated in any of the opportunities to test out the models on the market, the realities with some of the programs create ancient battles which can be very realistic drawing in the viewer, these types of scenes are played out with authenticity.

The possibility of the expansion of DNA to include the reliving one’s linage through the aspects of vertical DNA is also very interesting, although highly unlikely, and does keep one’s interest.

Jeremy Irons, as the programs facilitator, brings a mix of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.

Assassin's Creed, marries the mind-bending VR with the proven science to bring forth this epic tale of good and evil, a historical battle. Assassin’s Creed captures the attention early, giving the viewers the twists, turn and spin of well thought out intriguing plot.

Assassin’s Creed opens everywhere December 21, 2017. 

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