Rafe Judkins, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas
Rated: PG-13 for violence/action and language
All media used courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Based on the popular video game series, Uncharted follows Nate Drake (Tom Holland) as he searches for “missing, not lost” treasure, and perhaps finding his brother, who, had to leave Nate at a young age after being caught attempting to steal a map to an unfathomable fortune. Nate gets the lead on his brother from Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) and the two embark on the adventure but avoiding adversaries also hunting for the gold. This clunky action adventure may not work in the way it’d hope, but by the end, the shortcomings are somewhat forgiven by a fun and preposterous third act.
The premise is actually fairly entertaining. I enjoyed having a new Indiana Jones-type story for a new generation that doesn’t take itself too seriously, while having great stunts and effects. If you look at the Uncharted video games, there are a lot of similarities to Tom Hollands movements, in the type of adventure and fun had in unlocking new secrets and layers to the mystery. The action overall is fun and engaging, and if there is any credit to Sony for casting Tom Holland to play this character it’s in his ability to perform his own stunts and make the action feel more real.
When the casting was first announced for the two leads, fans were perplexed and curious about the age difference between the on-screen Drake vs. the Video Game character being significantly older. I think though I can definitely see why Tom Holland was cast, It is a very difficult challenge to see him bartending and not think to yourself “Is he even old enough to drink?”. The Spider-Man persona does affect what we see with Holland in this film, and it doesn’t seem to affect the plot in either way. It’s a cognitive bias I subconsciously have after only seeing him really as a high schooler. But, I’ll say this, and I mean it. If Tom Holland can make it out of a Wal-Mart buying a R-rated movie without being asked to show his ID, then I will walk back everything I just said.
Then there’s Mark Wahlberg, who also has a significant age gap from the video game, but that isn’t really the issue with Victor. He just doesn’t really have anything to do. He has exposition, some back and forth with Nathan Drake that feels like It was funny in the script but just didn’t translate well for me on screen. The jokes about him being old feel forced, and the villains are really underdeveloped. There is some good moments with Sophia Ali and Tom Holland and had they stuck with that through the film it would be better for it. But she’s also sidelined by the end of the movie.
That being said, the third act is ridiculous fun, the effects heavy sequences are creative and mixed with the stunts by Holland make the conclusion feel like a slightly scaled up Goonies adventure. Perhaps that will upset video game fans but for me, that third act almost guarantees that I will be going to the sequel when it’s eventually green-lit.
Overall, Uncharted is a fun adventure film with a fun adventure theme and bombastic third act. Tom Holland is great, Sophia Ali is great, but Mark Wahlberg and the villains just feel out of place and underdeveloped. Go in with low expectations and try your best to separate High School Tom Holland with adult bartender Tom Holland, and you’ll have a good time!