A fun, exciting mashup of familiar action adventures that works thanks to great chemistry between Holland and Wahlberg.
After being in development hell since 2008 and then delayed due to Covid-19, Uncharted is finally out in cinemas. Based on Naughty Dog’s blockbuster video games series, and taking inspiration from the fourth game of the series, Uncharted: A Thief’s End, the film serves as an origin story for its main character, Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) as he teams up with unscrupulous fortune hunters to find a lost treasure and hopefully learn the whereabouts of his missing older brother.
Full disclosure: while I can’t comment on whether it’s a good adaptation of the game since I have never played them, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it as an action, adventure popcorn flick that has taken heavy inspiration from films such as Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure and the Fast and Furious franchise.
After his older brother Sam (Rudy Pankow) runs away from their orphanage as a child to avoid the authorities, Nathan Drake grows up to become a talented thief with impressive knowledge of history who is still waiting for his brother’s return. One night while working as a bartender, Nathan is approached by fortune hunter Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to help search for the gold treasure hidden by the Magellan crew that is estimated to be worth five billion dollars. If that wasn’t luring enough, Victor knew Sam and helping Victor find the treasure might provide clues to the whereabouts of Nathan’s brother.
Their path to fortune however isn’t without peril, though. In addition to figuring out the clues left behind by the Spanish crew who hid the gold and teaming up with another treasure hunter, Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) who has her own agenda, Nathan and Victor must also try to stay one step ahead of wealthy treasure hunter Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) and his henchmen who are lead by a ruthless mercenary, Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle). Oh, and Victor himself can’t be trusted either (of course), so Nathan has his work cut out for him if he is to find the treasure and find his brother.
Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg make a great onscreen, buddy duo with fantastic chemistry resulting in many comedic moments. They’re sort of like Riggs and Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon with the age gap providing many opportunities for them to roast each other.
Holland does an outstanding job portraying a young treasure hunter at the start of his treasure hunting career. He is in incredible physical shape to pull off the physicality required for the role and he never looks out of place pulling off the many action sequences he finds himself in. Couple that with his wit and charm and you end up with a lovable rogue dominating the screen, much like he did with his Spider-Man films. While he is far more baby-faced than the character portrayed in the video games, he’s still a great casting choice when you realize this is an origin story and the character is meant to be younger than in the video games.
Mark Wahlberg is also well cast as Victor Sullivan, a former military pilot whose questionable morals got him discharged. Despite being an untrustworthy rogue whose sole drive is to get the treasure and is happy to use people in order to achieve his goal, he nonetheless makes for a great mentor to Nathan who is new to the double crossing world of treasure hunting. Wahlberg brings that air of experience to the role while still being to kick plenty of ass as his younger co-star.
There’s nothing particularly original in Uncharted. If you’ve ever watched Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure and even the Fast and Furious (for the pacing of the action), then you’ve already seen this film. However director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland: Double Tap, Venom) has done a great job of re-creating elements from those films and mashing it all together for a fun action adventure that needs to be seen on the big screen to really appreciate.
While the film boasts many over-the-top action sequences that take place in many exotic locations (some a bit ridiculous but hey who cares), what made this film extra fun for me was the fight choreography. Clearly inspired by Jackie Chan movies, Uncharted has some really well done action sequences that utilize the environment around the characters. This added some much-needed flavor to the adventure of a film that often feels recycled from other established action franchises by turning Holland into Jackie Chan’s protege.
Uncharted is a fun movie. Sure it’s silly and ridiculous in parts and I’m sure there’ll be diehard fans of the game unhappy with the adaptation (there always are). But for someone like myself who knows little about the game and went in with no expectations, I found it to be an extremely entertaining adventure. With great onscreen chemistry between Holland and Wahlberg and all the tropes you expect for this type of film, Uncharted is an easy recommendation for those who aren’t looking for substance and are happy to sit back and watch some brainless action on the big screen.
- MPAA Rating: PG-13
- Release Date: February 18, 2022
- Distributor: Sony Pictures
Originally published on February 22, 2022 at https://www.popzara.com/movies/movie-reviews/uncharted-2022/