Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Starring: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, and Antonio Banderas
It’s been well over a decade since the news of a film based on the PlayStation video game series, Uncharted, started making the rounds. Since then, it seemed like every couple of years it entered production before vanishing again. Different writers, actors, directors have all been associated with it, so now that the film is finally here it’s almost hard to believe it’s real. Just to make it clear how long it’s been, Mark Wahlberg was at one point going to be the central character, Nathan Drake, instead of his mentor Sully.
If you’re familiar with the games, then the film follows the same set up. It starts halfway through the story with Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) in an impossible to survive situation, this time free-falling from a plane without a parachute. The film then jumps back in time showing Nate and his brother, Sam, in the orphanage to set up the treasure that they’ll be hunting later in the film, similar to the opening of the game Uncharted 4. It then jumps again to Nate older meeting Sully (Mark Wahlberg) for the first time and setting off on the adventure.
It’s full-on action adventure there on out, with a heist at an auction, labyrinthian puzzles, as well as a massive set piece featuring a battle on two pirate ships hoisted in the air by helicopters. It’s a lot of set pieces and grand moments, that are full of fun that feels like the games they are based on. Apart from the opening in the orphanage it doesn’t really follow the same plots as any of the games, but instead is an origin story for Nate. Sully doesn’t even have his moustache yet.
The action is great, the visuals are stunning, and it’s definitely never boring. The fight sequences are tense and exciting, there’s some funny dialogue thrown in, and more than enough fun throughout. The only issue is the casting. Tom Holland is not Nathan Drake. As a big fan of the game series, it was jarring to see him in the role. He doesn’t look or sound like him, and definitely doesn’t come close to bringing the same charm that Nolan North did in the games. The fan-made film with Nathan Fillion a few years back feels a lot closer than this does, and it’s a shame that Fillion never got to play the character on the big screen. Tom Holland is a decent actor, and he’s very convincing during the action sequences, but he’s not as believable as Drake, even for an origin story.
Saying that, he does warm on you as the film continues, and by the time he adds the gun holsters to his costume to complete the iconic look of the character, he won me over, but that’s a decent way through the film. If you’re not familiar with the games already then, the casting probably won’t be an issue at all, Holland and Wahlberg are both good and they work well with each other. Instead it’s probably the riffing on Indiana Jones, right through to the red line on the map showing their globetrotting adventure, that’ll stand out more.
Uncharted is exactly what you want it to be. Loud and fun. It’s explosive, silly and something you can completely switch your mind off to watch. It’s probably not something that you’ll go back to like Indiana Jones but it’s still entertaining while it lasts and the set pieces look incredible.
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