In this adaptation of the popular video game, Michael Fassbender’s death-row convict is roped into a centuries-old battle between ancient secret societies, the Assassins and Knights Templar.
However, in the way of the action there is a baffling load of gobbledegook to swallow.
Unbeknown to him, Fassbender’s Cal is descended from an Assassin back in the time of the Spanish Inquisition, a kick-ass warrior named Aguilar de Nerha who is striving to keep an ancient artefact out of the hands of his foes, the Templars. Known as the Apple of Eden, this MacGuffin of a relic apparently contains the genetic code for free will.
Skip ahead to the present day, where Marion Cotillard’s scientist, Dr Sofia Rikkin, is seeking a cure for violence.
She wants to yank the object’s location from Cal’s DNA memory and straps him to a giant robotic arm that allows him to act out his ancestor’s deeds.
Sofia’s canny stratagem isn’t a good move for the film, its hero effectively consigned to playing a virtual-reality game.
Fassbender is left looking silly, while his illustrious co-stars, including Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling, aren’t much better off and much of the time the actors are swamped by CGI.
Fans of Fassbender’s previous collaboration with co-star Cotillard and director Justin Kurzel, 2015’s brilliant Macbeth, will be disappointed. Fans of the video game probably won’t be that thrilled, either.