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Assassin's Creed

Michael Fassbender and James Sobol Kelly star in a scene from the movie "Assassin's Creed." 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. (CNS photo/Fox)

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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.

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