By Laurie Coker

Rating: D-

Video games rule the world of entertainment, at least if we take into consideration how many hours kids and some adults spend playing them. Many parents struggle this time of year to find gifts for children who statistically participate in far fewer outdoor activities and who ride bikes less often and who meet friends face to face on Facetime or Facebook and not in person. Assassin’s Creed, a wildly popular and violent video game, is the latest to be transformed from gaming station to big screen. Starring Michael Fassbender, Assassin’s Creed falters in many ways, at no fault of its cast.

Speaking of the cast, Jeremy Irons is one of three key actors, the third being Marion Cotillard and unsurprisingly, he’s the film’s antagonist. It might be nice to some day see that man play a good guy. Still, it takes director Justin Kurzel some time to sort out his story and this distracts greatly in spite of his stellar casts’ efforts. In fact, he never quite grabs hold of his purpose. Dark imagery, a poorly scripted tale, and bland character development are the least of the film’s issues.

Even the film’s battle-filled action sequences fail to impress – lost in darkness, distracting editing and inane dialogue. That the cast is able to stay straight face while delivering such nonsense is impressive in itself. For nearly two hours the story skips between two worlds and manages to keep the audience confused about what the actual plot and point are. Even a diehard Assassin’s Creed gamer couldn’t keep up, especially without the aid of a controller.

Perhaps that is the point, keep them guessing, like playing the game, where the player plots out the path and semi-creates his own story. There must be some theme, some boon beyond the “Apple of Eden” that the characters fight to find and secure. Each character battles for the side of good or evil and the betterment of mankind, but there again the line is wholly blurred. There is a message in Assassin’s Creed, but what it is depends wholly on which side the viewer or “player” chooses to take.

Rated PG-13 to encompass its gaming fanbase, Assassin’s Creed is only worth seeing on home video if that. With box office prices what they are, buying the game version or another better one makes for a far wiser choice. I am placing a D- in my grade book. Just seeing Fassbender without a shirt keeps the film above an F.

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