The Assassin’s Creed games have a history of appealingly wonky premises (stab templars in the Sistine Chapel!) marred by frustratingly botched play mechanics (get stuck in a bush outside the Sistine Chapel!).

The movie adaptation, unfortunately, fails to find a happy medium between cool stuff and coherence. Cherry-picking randomly from the mythology of the games, the plot follows a death-row inmate (Michael Fassbender!) forced by a scientist (Marion Cotillard?) to revisit his past life as a 15th-century superkiller. Jeremy Irons and Charlotte Rampling stop by occasionally to glower.

Director Justin Kurzel, who worked with both of the leads for last year’s visually stunning Macbeth, has action chops to spare, particularly during a bravura parkour sequence that makes you realize just how damned hard it must be to appear weightless.

The lack of any real narrative logic connecting the set pieces, however, makes Assassin’s Creed destined to be an ambitious one-and-done curio. That said, if a sequel does somehow happen, it could conceivably include the part from the games where the hero gets in a fistfight with a superpowered pope! recommended