tisdag 14 februari 2017

Assassin´s Creed

Ever since i was a young boy, video games became a big part of my childhood. Nintendo, Sega Megadrive, Super Nintendo, i played all kinds of machines and titles, and i remember being very proud especially about the first Sony Playstation. Especially one game series called Tenchu. You could choose between playing Rikimaru or Ayame, two special trained ninjas, that go out to assassinate different evil characters. The video game Tenchu Stealth Assassins is still today a classic, released in 1998 on Playstatsion. It had strong characters, a great look of the game, and a different look than most ninja games. More of the Tenchu games continued to be released, and i enjoyed most of them, especially Tenchu: Wrath Of Heaven on Xbox 360. I really hope that Tenchu will return in a game format someday, because i feel that these characters deserve to be brought back to a updated version of the classic games. I could even imagine a film adaptaion being made, with the right director. Not that this is likely to happen, but the source material could offer a lot of goodies, if it was made correctly to a screen experience. Speaking of film adaptations of video games, i think most video games nerds have seen at least a few films, made from video games. Anyone remember Jean-Claude Van Damme in Street Fighter, or perhaps Mark Dacascos in Double Dragon ? Both films should be seen, if you want to laugh, because the acting is both horrible in both films. And the characters ? Oh boy, then you will find some really cheesy scenes in these two film adaptations. For some reason, the 90´s proved to be a time period, where directors wanted to deliver films based on video games. We all know the truth today, that most of them did not even function. But then we have some films that have been fun to watch, even if the source material may not be completely used correctly. I am thinking about the film Resident Evil, released in 2002 with Milla Jovovich as Alice, who tries to fight against Umbrella Corporation. The first film was a fun time, and i liked the sequels as well, especially because Milla Jovovich was a good choice as Alice. Did the films follow the games ? Not really, but had elements from the games. And that worked for me, sometimes it is hard to transform a film from a video game, exactly as the game itself. One of my personal favourite film adaptations of a video game, is the 2006 film Silent Hill. Director Christophe Gans, actually managed to capture the atmosphere of the game, and the visual style of the game. If you have not seen this film, i suggest you find it on dvd or blu ray. Have anyone of you played any of the Assassin´s Creed games ? Very popular games, and there are many games out there released in these series. I have 5 of them, and i have to say that i love the concept of the games, that feels majestic and looks really good. So when i read that a film was going to be made, based on the video games, i was actually pleased. This could be a good idea, if the right director choose to work on the project. Director Justin Kurzel ( who directed the very strong Australian film Snowtown ), choosed to accept to direct Assassin´s Creed. A good choice, and i was curious to see what he would do, knowing that the source material is very important. Is Assassin´s Creed the best movie adaptation of a video game in many years, or does this film fall flat right among the rest of film adaptations from the past ?

In 1492, during the Grenada War, Aguilar de Naur ( Michael Fassbender ) is accepted into the Assassins Creed Brotherhood. He is assigned to protect Prince Ahmed de Granada ( Keemal Deen-Ellis ). In 1986, young Callum Lynch ( Angus Brown ) comes home to find his mother murdered, by his father Joseph Lynch ( Brian Gleeson ). His father is a modern-day Assassin. Suddenly a group of armored men, led by Alan Rikkin ( Jeremy Irons ), CEO of the Abstergo Foundation are out to capture Joseph, but he manage to escape. 30 years later, in 2016, adult Callum Lynch ( Michael Fassbender ) is in death row, ready to be executed for murder. As the execution is proceeded, Callum later wakes up in a bed. He is not dead. In fact, he was transported to Abstergo Foundation, where Dr. Sophia Rikkin ( Marion Cotillard ) explain why he have been spared from death. They need him for a mission. Callum is an descendant of Aguilar de Naur, and with the help of the Aniumus, Callum can relive Aguilar´s genetic memories, so he can locate The Apple. This so called apple contains the genetic code for free will. The journey he is about to take, could possibly change the past, and present day.

We all know how Hollywood usually does films, based on video games. Most of the movie adaptations are not very good, or simply don´t follow the source material. But there are exceptions of course, just look at the 1995 film Mortal Kombat, based on the very popular video game. Director Paul W.S. Anderson actually managed to capture some of the feeling of the characters, that we have played on the video game. The stunt effects, especially the fighting scenes also looked good. Now when we have a new film, based on a very popular video games series called Assassin´s Creed, you might think that director Justin Kurzel would follow the source material of the games. He does, but not as much as we might have expected. You see, there are familiar styles of the action scenes, the costume design, and this is where Assassin´s Creed works best. Especially when we travel to Spain in the year 1492, as the main character Callum Lynch, who becomes Aguilar de Nerha. When we experience the Assassin team on different missions, during this time period, the film becomes more fun. Once we step out of the past, and into present day, the atmosphere of the film changes. I realise that it must have been difficult, trying to follow the games, since there are so many released. And knowing that this is the introduction to the film adaptation to Assassin´s Creed, automatically puts pressure on director Justin Kurzel, because he clearly must have known that the fans would expect to feel at home. I will say this, he could have done a lot worse. Because there are some positive ideas here, while some things could have been done better. Let´s talk about the positive. Michael Fassbender in the lead role, is a very good choice. This is not his strongest performance, but he is a good choice for a character like Callum Lynch. Jeremy Irons is nice to see as the stiff Alan Rikkin. I have seen him do much stronger performances in the past, but seeing him on screen in this environment is a nice touch. The spanish talking Assassins is also one of the positive surprises, this fits better to the location and from a historical perspective it also works better, than having them speak in english. Now to the bad sides. The film is a bit boring in some places, too much dialogue. This should have been more fast paced instead, with more intensive action scenes. I also feel that director Justin Kurzel should have sticked to making more scenes, that took place in Spain, because that´s where the film works better. Instead, he choose to focus on present day, where not much happens. As a film adaptation from a video game, Assassin´s Creed have flaws, but i have seen a lot worse film adaptations in the past. So i will say that i still enjoyed myself, even if i can see the problems. If you love the video games, i think you should see the film and make up your own mind. Somehow it is nice to see Michael Fassbender do this character, kicking ass as an Assassin. Hopefully we can get a stronger sequel, because i can see potential here. That is at least a positive start.

Rating: DDD

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