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Review: 'Uncharted' (2022) Dir. Ruben Fleischer

Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, Rudy Pankow, Steven Waddington, Manuel de Blas and Pilou Asbæk

 

In development for over 15 years since the first 'Uncharted' game in 2007, Sony finally bring Naughty Dog's hit series to the big screen with big stars attempting to forge a new franchise...


Street-smart bartender Nathan Drake (Holland) lives a rather uneventful and empty life. That life changes with the mysterious Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Wahlberg) arrives with a proposition to seek out fabled Spanish loot that Nathan's lost brother once helped him try to find.


Nathan and Victor team up with fellow treasure hunter Chloe Frazer (Ali) in Barcelona and begin to trace the footsteps of circumnavigator Juan Sebastián Elcano. They also get the attention of Santiago Moncada (Banderas), a man also hunting the treasure.


Racing to stay one step ahead of Moncada and his hired goons, Nathan and Victor must follow clues and pointers that help guide them on a globe-spanning adventure to find the loot and what happened to Sam, all while avoiding deadly double-crosses and danger along the way...

For those not familiar with the popular PlayStation video game series ‘Uncharted’, the games took relic seeking to a whole new level for gamers. Not simply a ‘Tomb Raider’ knock-off, but something far more immersive and rewarding for those looking for memorable characters, action sequences and stories. Nathan Drake has been a gaming favourite since 2007; a seasoned treasure hunter with his own identity and world-weary level of experience.


Sadly, Tom Holland continues to play Peter Parker in different guises and locations and scenarios. He may try to evoke new styles and personalities, but there is that same boyish naivety and level of inexperience that old web-head has in the Marvel movies, now fronted by Holland. Here, as smart-ass bartender turned historical nut Nathan Drake, Holland doesn’t break any moulds in tackling the young boy with demons, making a living on his own but without any clear direction.

Holland is not the right person to play Nathan Drake, because he’s simply baby faced Tom Holland / Peter Parker. He’s a kid in an adult world who is embarrassing when he tries to act like said adult.

Holland is face of blockbuster franchises too well known to create an individual character such as Nate Drake, and you can’t buy into anything Drake should be here except being a smart ass, bubble-gum chewing flirt who is mentored by Mark Wahlberg’s Sully, who doesn’t seem to be doing except being general wise-cracking Mark Wahlberg chasing his tail. It’s a very flat partnership, and they play characters who have been done a million times before failing to bring anything of their video game sprites to life.


Throw in a forgettable Antonio Banderas as our villainous Spanish treasure hunter who will stop at nothing to seek out lost loot, and Sophia Ali as the tick-box female associate and love interest, and we have the template for a globetrotting, cat and mouse adventure with mercenaries chasing the heroes down and always one step behind until the end. This is an adventure that doesn’t seem to take any risks or feature bold, brave moments to stand out from the crowd and stand-tall with the beloved video game series. Even the final action sequence, while it finally lets go of the brakes, is too little too late.

The risk of evolving a video game into a linear story that can be watched and not played is always a risky move, and rarely does it work. It doesn’t work here, and adds its name to the list of lacklustre adaptations. There is little here that could help this stand apart from others of the genre that do it far better.


Away from the leading cast, this is Indiana Jones / Tomb Raider / The Goonies fluff at it’s underwhelming best. Ancient maps of fabled historical travellers, traps, tombs, churches, double crosses…you name it, they’re here. Chases on foot, on bikes, planes and trains, but without any sense of danger or risk – just lots of Tom Holland yelping and swearing at the risks he takes when falling or stumbling in his CGI environment or trying to strike up chemistry with Wahlberg. It’s very amateur stuff, which is a shame and a very wasted opportunity.


Production wise, this may gain a few points, but authentic looking catacombs and locations don’t make up for the otherwise boring story that takes us through, and no number of flaming torches, locked gates and hidden secrets make this exciting or original. It’s a by the book treasure hunting adaptation and then some that could have easily filled a limited TV series.

Fans of the video game will be dissapointed. Fans of the genre will be underwhelmed. 'Uncharted' is unmemorable, unoriginal and unexciting that should have left well enough alone.





'Uncharted' is a co-production by Columbia Pictures, PlayStation Productions, Atlas Entertainment and A2 Productions


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