By John Mulderig
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — Though the mayhem that pervades "Assassin’s Creed" (Fox), director Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of a popular series of video games, is mostly bloodless, other more unusual problems render it unacceptable for all.
That becomes clear from the moment the eponymous affirmation first pops up in the dialogue. "Nothing is true," so it informs us, "everything is permitted."
Fortunately, the alternate history by which this nugget is surrounded is so outlandish — and the action adventure those committed to it get themselves involved in so dull — that even ethically indifferent viewers may stay away from the film in droves.
After being unexpectedly saved from execution by a secretive organization — Marion Cotillard plays Sofia, one of its officials — sullen Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) gets filled in, along with the audience, on the Dan Brown-like back story. It seems that there has been an age-old feud between the Knights Templar and the Assassins.
(This sounds unlikely, given that the Templars were very thoroughly suppressed as long ago as the early 1300s. But whatever.)
The power-hungry Templars aim to eradicate free will. And they’re on the trail of an artifact, the Apple of Eden, that will enable them to do so.
For reasons best known to them, Sofia and her colleagues have decided that the optimal way to stop the Templars is to use a time-travel machine called the Animus to send Lynch — or at least his consciousness — back to 15th-century Spain. There he will control the body of an ancestor of his who was in the thick of every battle.
So Lynch gets strapped into the Animus and commences to thrash around in the manner of a sleepwalker having a post-traumatic nightmare.
Tedium turns to annoyance as Lynch pauses from his Spanish dust-ups long enough to witnesses the work of the Templar-backed Inquisition. He even manages to spoil an otherwise perfectly nice auto-da-fe presided over by none other than Torquemada himself (Javier Gutierrez).
Tainted by a dumbed-down vision of the past, and of the church, Kurzel’s preposterous brew only continues to curdle from there.
The film contains false values, anti-Catholicism, sometimes harsh but rarely gory combat violence and at least one instance each of rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
– – –
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.Tags: Movie Review