Assassin’s Creed Reviews: How Did Fox’s Video Game Movie Fare With The Critics?

Barring the lucrative Resident Evil franchise, Hollywood cinema has a spotty record when it comes to live-action video game movies – and that’s putting it kindly. From Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to the by-now infamous Super Mario Bros. film of ’93, the list of botched pixel ports stretches back for more than two decades, but even after this year’s so-so Warcraft, all eyes turned to Assassin’s Creed as the one adaptation to buck tradition. Spoilers: You’d be best tempering your expectations.

Even in the wake of last week’s largely positive fan reactions, the early critical consensus claims Assassin’s Creed will go down as another problematic video game movie for its po-faced screenplay and convoluted storytelling. Whether these reviews have much of a bearing on the film’s box office projections – let alone those tentative sequel plans – will ultimately be told in time.

Without further ado, here’s a sample of the Assassin’s Creed reviews:

The Hollywood Reporter, Harry Windsor:

The year 2016 has been full of surprises, so in some ways Assassin’s Creed, Hollywood’s latest attempt to mine gold from an industry that rakes in more dough than it does, is a reassuring tonic: Video game adaptations remain plodding affairs. Directed by Australian helmer Justin Kurzel, reuniting with his Macbeth stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, Assassin’s Creed is resolutely stone-faced, ditching the humdrum quips that are par for the course in today’s blockbusters. But this is almost two hours of convoluted hokum that might have benefited from a few self-deflating jabs. “What the f— is going on,” wonders Fassbender at one point. If only you could discern the shadow of a wink.

The Verge, Adi Robertson:

There’s inevitably a hint of shameless money-grab to any film adaptation of a ludicrously popular video game franchise, especially one that specifically appeals to people who must uncover every secret in the mythos. Still, Assassin’s Creed’s creators have the courage to always take themselves seriously, even when they’re working with material that sounds fundamentally silly. There’s no great leap of faith in Assassin’s Creed, but a surprising amount of the time, it at least finds steady footing.

Indiewire, David Ehrlich:

Few studio offerings of this scale so proudly express the violence of their creative process, so openly confront their genetic makeup in order to become something better than what was written for them. Declaring “Assassin’s Creed” to be the best video game movie ever made is the kind of backhanded compliment that sounds like hyperbole, but the description fits the bill on both counts. Regardless of what you call this peculiar, arrestingly uninviting nonsense, the fact of the matter is that it’s the only blockbuster of 2016 that left me desperate for a sequel.

The AV Club, Jesse Hassenger:

It’s not as if this represents a major comedown from Kurzel’s Macbeth, which also ran out of steam (though not mist) by the halfway mark. Like that Shakespeare adaptation, Assassin’s Creed is most compelling when Fassbender and Cotillard whisper at each other in close proximity. Both actors have such adult intensity that their participation in a juvenile fantasy (replete with simultaneous hood-flipping and at least a half dozen dramatic dives from great heights, along with the aforementioned self-satisfied libertarianism) becomes a source of bizarre fascination—for a little while, anyway. Assassin’s Creed pushes their charisma to the limits, then stabs it bloodlessly and jumps off a building.

Empire, James Dyer:

Neither a direct hit, nor another body for the pile, Assassin’s Creed is one of the better pixel ports. The action delivers in spades, but as Lynch runs around ancient buildings trying to decipher clues, it’s hard not to see this as a Dan Brown novel with added gymnastics.

The Assassin’s Creed movie will leap into theatres across France and the United States tomorrow, December 21, before Justin Kurzel’s historical actioner opens for those in the UK in early January.