Over the years, it’s been difficult for Hollywood to adapt successful video games into successful films. Hollywood’s latest attempt is the adaptation of Naughty Dog’s popular video game series, Uncharted.
The film is, reportedly, a prequel to the games (even with scenes from the game inserted in the film). The plot follows Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) who is living in New York as a bartender, fifteen years after his brother Sam escaped the orphanage they were living in. As an adult, Nathan is obsessed with history and lost treasures. He has the a specialized knowledge that’s only useful for treasure hunting and Jeopardy.
One night, Nathan is approached by Sully (Mark Wahlberg) – a fortune hunter who once worked with Nathan’s brother and is in search of lost gold left behind by Ferdinand Magellan and his crew during their voyage around the world in 1519. Sully recruits Nathan to join him in his globetrotting adventure to find the lost fortune.
Also in pursuit of the treasure is Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), a ruthless treasure hunter. The Moncada family was the group that originally financed Magellan’s expedition. To help find the gold, Moncada hired a mercenary named Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) to take out Nathan, Sully, and whoever else would get in the way.
The story picks up once all parties land in Barcelona. Nathan and Sully meet up with Sully’s friend Chloe (Sophia Ali), a fellow treasure hunter that holds a key to them finding the treasure. Meanwhile, Moncada and his goons are on their heels the entire time.
Uncharted is a reminder that films like the Indiana Jones series and National Treasure aren’t as easy to make as they seem. Honestly, they’re very difficult to make. You need to have a good lead. The script must be tight, interesting, and clever. And last, but not least, the casts need to work well together.
Holland is a solid as Nathan Drake. He may be a bit young looking but that’s helpful if they’re attempting to make a franchise out of these films. However the script is where the film starts to flounder. Not only is the dialogue incredibly uninteresting, it’s not clever and many of the jokes don’t land. Wahlberg feels out of place as Sully. The film spends a lot of time building trust in their relationship. That relationship is supposed to pay off in future installments of the franchise, but none of it feels earned or necessary.
Tati Gabrielle is a breath of fresh air and a rising star. The story could’ve used more of her action scenes and fierce portrayal of Braddock.
Fans that want to see some crazy action will be disappointed. There are a few big action set pieces but none of it is memorable. It’s standard action with none of the tension or stress you get from a film like National Tressure that makes you feel like the stakes are high.
On paper, Uncharted should be a slam dunk. Tom Holland in a treasure quest that spans across the globe should make for good popcorn cinema. Director Ruben Fleisher (Venom, Gangster Squad, and Zombieland) makes this global gallivant for gold an uninteresting trip around the world that doesn’t keep the audience invested in the outcome.