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.
After years of production hell, the popular video game adaptation Uncharted is finally hitting theaters. The only question remaining is whether it was worth the wait or not. Having never played the game, or even seen the trailer, my expectations were extremely low to nonexistent. So would it be a shock if I was still disappointed? Video game movies have never succeeded critically except for the latest Sonic the Hedgehog film, but other than that they’ve all failed. And action may not be the genre for all movie goers, but it’s debatable whether everyone loves a good adventure. Life itself is an adventure, and so is Uncharted which may give cause to why any audience member can relate. So it’s possible to assume that this latest adaptation would break the cycle of these poor quality productions, but unfortunately, it doesn’t and digs a deeper hole in the grave of not-so-good video game movies.
There’s nothing special that will standout with Uncharted which is a shame given its popularity. With this being directed by Rueben Fleischer (Zombieland, Venom) you’d think it would possess his own unique flair of style given his filmography, but this feature is the perfect example of a bland sandwich. Starting with the characters this whole production is miscast. Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Sully have no chemistry within 1 million miles of each other. I’ve never seen a more forced pairing of individuals on screen. Tom Holland still stands out like a high school Spiderman. So trying to convince the audience that he’s a trained experienced explorer that can fight with the best of them is a long stretch. Wahlberg on the other hand is even worse. There’s no depth to his character in the slightest. He just memorized his lines with no inflection at all in his performance, and boring is an understatement for the two of them.
Also, the plot centers around them trying to find a lost treasure from the past 500 years spanning across the globe. There were plenty of chances for the film to take advantage of this catering off the legend Indiana Jones or other great Hollywood classics, but it doesn’t come remotely close. Other than a brief foot chase, and a moment where a character may drown, there were no stakes whatsoever in this entire film. Nothing to get the blood pumping or make you feel as if the protagonists were in any real danger. You also knew that they would live and be ok in the end. The leads never had a sound plan to execute either while trying to accomplish their goal. It seriously seemed like the only dialogue that took place before any heist was, “Okay, we’re just going to show up and do our best!” Really? If this was the case there’s no reason for Sully to recruit Nate in the first place. Sure the story tries to give you a reason, but it’s weak. It also can’t be forgotten how naive Nathan Drake is trusting Sully which makes you like his character even worse.
There isn’t anything to like about the villains either. How does a film not take advantage of the great Antonio Banderas? As one of the antagonists, his monologue scene expressing his passion for revenge came across as a 2nd grader struggling onstage for their school play. There was nothing sinister about it at all. Not only that, but both groups, the good guys and bad, make some of the most illogical decisions throughout the film that it’s laughable. You tell me if it’s a safe idea to purposefully sabotage a plane in mid-air without a parachute. It’s the equivalent of jumping in a pool of gasoline if you’re covered in fire (There’s no exaggeration in this comparison). Then again we see Nathan falling through the sky, but don’t worry because you know he’ll live. The ending action scene will make you want to cry. I’ve never seen so many attempts to fail a mission and not want to be filthy rich. It’s detestable.
Behind the scenes, this film was a dumpster fire from day one. Countless members of the creative process kept dropping off this production like it was contagious. That doesn’t always mean a production is doomed, but it sure didn’t help the final product this time around. It’s a shame because this could’ve easily turned into a long-standing franchise that could’ve taken up good space in theaters for years. But it’s also an example that slapping a popular title on a film with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars is not enough to warrant a great film. Actual talent behind the scenes is vital when crafting a great story with compelling characters and this just isn’t it.