‘Uncharted’ Review – ‘The Excitement Should be Saved for the Sequel’

Synopsis:

Street-smart Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to recover a fortune amassed by Ferdinand Magellan and lost 500 years ago by the House of Moncada. What starts as a heist job for the duo becomes a globe-trotting, white-knuckle race to reach the prize before the ruthless Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who believes he and his family are the rightful heirs. If Nate and Sully can decipher the clues and solve one of the world’s oldest mysteries, they stand to find $5 billion in treasure and perhaps even Nate’s long-lost brother…but only if they can learn to work together.

It’s said to keep your friends close but your enemies closer, but it’s not that simple anymore. The long con seems to be the new motive of manipulation and infiltration. They befriend you for an extended period of time and when you least expect it, they’ve got you in a corner with no way out. It may even be a situation where you fall in love with them, treachery knows no bounds. They learn your likes and dislikes, all about your friends and family, they’ll even introduce you to theirs. What happens is that you begin ignoring all red flags and potential warning signs of malicious and predatory behavior. You’ll end up in situations where you naturally have suspicions but then you’ll end up saying to yourself, there’s no way they could do something like that. And when you do finally get burned or catch them in the act, they leave you with a devastating gift that will forever effect every relationship/ friendship going forward, trust issues. Not only did they scorn you but altered your personality and perspective on life, it’s nasty stuff. There are ways to prevent and combat these diabolically advantageous people, avoid all people. I’m just joking. Learn to recognize the signs and trust your gut (intuition). Life is comprised of multiple tests and the most intelligent and most successful people fail, however, the key is to learn from failure. You don’t have to forgive, definitely never forget, simply add the lessons to your mental storage and move accordingly after the fact. You will be tested again.

“If something’s lost, it can be found.”

Once upon a time a greedy Marky Mark and a gullible Peter Parker went on an adventure. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Uncharted is a nonstop action-adventure where the excitement should be saved for the sequel. Despite having a few huge stars, more than anything, this film lays the groundwork for a thrilling and dramatic follow-up. As video games usually don’t breed great live-action films, I had my reservations and decided to see the film in 4DX. The 4DX experience for this treasure hunt is wilder than I could’ve expected – I was almost thrown out of my seat. Not a complaint though. Beginning with a fraction of what will be the movie’s most exhilarating scene, the story then delves slightly into some backstory and motivation of our protagonist, Nathan Drake (Tom Holland). There are a multitude of things that are never explained, however, if it’s not explained in the game, I can understand why things are left out. I’m not much of a gamer, so I’ve only seen friends of mine play this – shoutout the homie, Chris.

With his pickpocket skills and cunning, not to mention, his parkour talents, Nathan is immediately an intriguing individual. While a somewhat fast-paced story is what you want from your adventure flicks, this one may move a little too fast and chemistry too forced. Again, I don’t think they were trying to deviate from the PlayStation game very much and didn’t take the creative liberties that they should have. Nevertheless, the film at times is a lot of fun. You can see the elements that are pulled straight from gameplay and the moments the film has confidence in itself. And who doesn’t love a National Treasure/ Divinci Code-esque treasure hunt? What I do know is, if there is a sequel and there is a strong indication that there will be, I can already tell you that the sequel will supersede this one. There’s a building of drama and higher stakes that lend itself to its continuation but not this one. Unfortunately, while this can be a thrilling ride, it’s a cat and mouse game within a cat and mouse game, it’s not one that stays with you. It’s full of greedy, untrustworthy, dangerous but likable individuals and a cat. There are some humorous moments, some cool shots, and if you happen to be infatuated with Mr. Holland, you get your shirtless Tom scenes. By no means is Uncharted a terrible film, but it could’ve been so much better. Its rewatchability is medium.

Tom Holland and Antonio Banderas star in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. photo by: Clay Enos
Mark Wahlberg stars as Victor “Sully” Sullivan and Tom Holland stars as Nathan Drake in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. Photo by: Clay Enos

Pacing & Pop

For what the film is attempting to accomplish, the pacing is perfect. There almost isn’t any moments that aren’t filled with some sort of action. Unfortunately, that does mean that it somewhat lacks in building suspense and anticipation. What popped for me was the thought of the setup for the sequel. There isn’t one specific sequence or performance that blows you away, however, it does set the stage for an interesting and eventful part 2.

Sophia Taylor Ali, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg star in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. photo by: Clay Enos
(l to r) Steven Waddington, Tati Gabrielle and Pingi Moli star in Columbia Pictures UNCHARTED. photo by: Clay Enos

Characters & Chemistry

Starring: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, Antonio Banderas

Tom Holland does most of the heavy lifting in this film as Nathan Drake. His charisma, charm, and physicality are what makes the film fun. While the cast has some well-known names, the chemistry isn’t quite there. Most of it is because they spend the majority of the film trying to force this brotherly mentor-mentee relationship between Nathan and Sully (Mark Wahlberg). Unfortunately, the chemistry that they want isn’t quite earned. Also, the characters don’t really learn anything or go through changes, that is except for Nathan’s trust issues. However, I do believe it will feel more organic in the sequel with an adventure under their belt. Individually, I did enjoy Tati Gabrielle’s performance as Braddock and Sophia Ali as Chloe Frazer. Gabrielle’s intensity and piercing eyes can be felt in every role and Ali brings a devious innocence that works well within her trio. Sadly, Antonio Banderas’s talents felt wasted.

Uncharted releases in theaters on February 18, 2022. Stay safe and enjoy.

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Writers: Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, Jon Hanley Rosenberg & Mark D. Walker

Based on: The PlayStation video game by Naughty Dog

Producers: Charles Roven, Avi Arad, Alex Gartner, Ari Arad

Executive Producers: Ruben Fleischer, Robert J. Dohrmann, David Bernad, Tom Holland, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, Neil Druckmann, Evan Wells, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 2h

Rating: 3 out of 5