Based on the popular series of PlayStation games, Uncharted has been in development for many years. It finally sees Tom Holland take on the role of Nathan Drake, the lovable treasure hunter. The film is helmed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Venom).
We’re introduced to Drake working as a talkative bartender, who spends his time serving history facts and quick quips. His pickpocketing antics leads him to a meeting with Victor “Sully” Sullivan, played by Mark Wahlberg. The cagey Sully recruits Drake to help steal an expensive artifact, which will lead to $5 billion lost treasure of Ferdinand Magellan. This sparks Drakes’s interest, as Sully mentions Drake’s estranged brother Sam’s involvement. This leads to globe trotting adventure, that mixes big set pieces, plenty of action movie clichés and humorous interactions with the main cast.
So how do you adapt a game series, that is already inspired by classic movies of the same genre? Well, you steer directly into them. While it seems like a prequel to the games, the film takes a couple of story elements from the series and remixes them up slightly. With the likes of the plane set piece and it’s opening inspired be sequences from Uncharted 3 & 4, some of the early interactions between characters feels a bit off. Tom Holland’s Drake looks the part, is charming in his own right and has good chemistry with Wahlberg. Sully’s character seems a bit underhanded at times, and some of his actions should of garnered bigger reactions from characters. The trope of trusting each other is a bit overplayed
We do get introduced to Chloe Frazer early on this adventure, played by Sophia Ali. A competent treasure hunter in her own right, her involvement feels a bit forced at times. Her storyline is easily guessed and her inclusion is more to keep the story moving to the next point. Has some decent scenes, but would like to see her character return down the line.
Antonio Banderas plays a generic villain archetype, who has some hammy dialogue and is underused. He could of been far more menacing in the role, with some of his scenes falling flat. He is flanked be several Bond-like henchman. Along with the inevitable fist fights and shoot outs, many are there for comic relief moments, but the antagonists never really feel like a threat to Drake.
The film has to introduce these characters to both fans and to an audience that may not have played the games before. It’s never going to please everyone. While some of Drake’s mannerisms aren’t perfect and the lack of major puzzle solving exists, I can see potential in the series. It’s not really until the third act, where everything starts to feel like Uncharted. With some beautiful locations, that showcase over-the-top action moments. There is some good set design throughout. Better yet, it’s the mid credit scene that really intrigues to the direction of the films.
Like the first title in the gaming series, Uncharted lays the groundwork for a potentially better sequel. A tighter script and a bit more character development could have made this film stand out more. But, as is, it’s a fun popcorn flick. More a National Treasure or Romancing The Stone then an Indiana Jones. Brings nothing new to the table, but certainly could’ve been worse.
Uncharted is in Irish & UK cinemas today, February 11th. It will be available in many other territories from February 18th. Will you be checking out Uncharted kid?
Uncharted - A lost treasure or forgotten story?
While not perfect in its execution, I do like Tom Holland in the role. There's good chemistry between him and Mark Wahlberg. The movie has several set pieces that fit the action packed nature of the games, but is lacking in character development. Sets the groundwork for a potentially better sequel.