“Street-smart Nathan Drake is recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan to recover a fortune amassed by Ferdinand Magellan, and lost 500 years ago by the House of Moncada.”

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Rafe Judkins, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Staring: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, Steve Waddington
Release Date: February 18, 2022

Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is a young bartender with an adventurous spirit. His passion for history and stories of legends is hampered by his current living conditions, but the shackles are shed when Sully (Mark Wahlberg) enters his restaurant and drops his card.

Sully wants to hire Nathan to help him find the fortune of Ferdinand Magellan. His hook to get Nathan involved is that Sully knows (knew?) Nathan’s brother Sam (Rudy Pankow), and Nathan has spoken to his brother since they were separated at a young age. Sully and Nate embark on a worldwide adventure that is filled with booby traps and dangerous characters.

Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) is a man who wants Magellan’s treasure because he believes that it is his families birthright. His muscle is Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle), and she is not someone to mess around with. Nate and Sully have to avoid their vague and tangible threats as they inch closer towards the assumed treasure, and they get help from an estranged friend of Sully’s, Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali).

The mix of characters bash into each other often and trust begins to dwindle between all parties as frustrations boil over. Each party has their own goals; whether it be a family reunion, a humongous payday, a funded sense of individualism or family pride. The paths for Nathan Drake and his acquaintances are Uncharted, so where they land at the stories conclusion is just as murky as the depths they must dive into.

Sully (Mark Whalberg) and Nathan Drake (Tom Holland)

Uncharted is a testament to Tom Holland and his power as one of Hollywood’s best bets. The Uncharted video game franchise is popular, but it is not iconic, so there was curiosity to see how the movie would preform. Add on the extra baggage that video game adaptions have historically been bad both on the quality and profitability front. Yet, Holland as Nathan Drake proves to be entertaining and Uncharted was profitable with roughly 402 million dollars world wide on an estimated 120 million dollar budget.

Holland is younger portrayal of Drake and and with this movie being most linked to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016), it takes some time to get acclimated to a younger version of Drake. It was a play to get Uncharted more international appeal, and no one can argue with the results. It would have been very interesting to see this movie casted with age-appropriate actors in relation to the video games. There were plenty false starts with this franchise before Holland took on Drake, some of which included Mark Wahlberg himself playing Drake or comic-con favorite Nathan Fillion.

With the weight of success on his shoulders, Holland does a solid job as Nathan Drake. When the movie stumbles, it is never the fault of Holland. One can appreciate the young lad doing the majority of his stunts, but one can also acknowledge that there is not a ton of difference between his version of Peter Parker and this rendition of Nathan Drake. In this version of Uncharted, Drake is like if Parker went to college; he is slightly older but still charming, attractive, and sassy. He kicks butt with a smile on his face, taking down opponents in a fun and inventing way.

Mark Wahlberg…I could not get over him as Sully. The casted younger ages for everyone, but Sully with the mustache and old-man demure in the video games is too etched in a vibe to accept a middle-aged body built replacement. Wahlberg does have that comedy bones to stand in an action-comedy ring, but Uncharted is as if his manager booked him for the wrong fight. His character is out of place. His acting is perfectly fine for what he can do. Unfortunately he can not become a de-aged Christopher Plummer. That is what I envision with Sully.

Among the other performers in Uncharted, it was delightful to see Antonio Banderas, even is his screen time is less than the previews would indicate. Sophia Ali, who plays the untrustworthy Chloe Frazer, looks the part and has good chemistry with Holland. My biggest question is why would anyone trust her at all? Why would Drake or Sully allow her a second chance? Again, not Ali’s fault, but just a question for the screenplay.

The best of the secondary character acting belongs to Tati Gabrielle as Jo Braddock. She looks terrifying. She looks awesome in the all black and I believe she could kick my ass at any time. Whatever she is doing with her eyes, it absolutely terrified me in an exciting way.

Nolan North (voice of Nathan Drake in the video games) cameo

Uncharted is directed by Ruben Fleischer, and Uncharted is a lot like the work he is most known for. Fliescher directed Venom (2018), which is a perfectly watchable super hero movie with a charismatic leading performance that dwindles with the dialogue starts and the action begins. A year later he put forward Zombieland: Double Tap (2019).

I ask you, do you remember a lot about Double Tap? It is okay if you say no. Do you remember enjoying Double Tap? It is okay to say yes. The much anticipated sequel didn’t live up to the hype, but it didn’t leave the crowd completely deflated.

Such is the same with Uncharted.

Do you remember enjoying the banter of Venom? Do you remember when the end turned into a CGI mess?

Such is the same with Uncharted.

Suspension of disbelief is a thing, but the end of Uncharted sets the bar high, even for a video game movie. My girlfriend was watching passively next to me and she was flabbergasted as to what was happening on the screen. I was watching it and getting bored knowing exactly where the ending was going, even if there are two floating/flying pirate ships pod racing in the sky with people performing super-hero esq stunts on the floating vessels.

Sorry for spoilers here, but the movie came out in February. Let’s be real.

I would have loved if this was in the jungle, or just on the ground amongst the ships. Hell, fall into some caverns or something. When the planes get airborne, it is hard not to roll your eyes at the absurdity. It was really the only moment in the Uncharted movie that was too video game like. Hell, the jumping out of the airplane isn’t even that crazy. The Gray Man (2022) just did.

Uncharted is the first feature production for Sony’s PlayStation Productions and is the first Naughty Dog video game to get a film made after it. Naughty Dog has the HBO show The Last Of Us coming out soon which is based off of the FANTASTIC 2013 video game. Sony Playstation is not done producing movies either; God Of War is going to to be an Amazon Prime Video production and Horizon is coming to Netflix. Dare I say, I may be buying some stock in a video game production company?

Uncharted does not reach the pinnacle high points of its cinematic inspirations. It is not Indiana Jones or The Jewel Of The Nile (1985), and if we are being honest…did anyone expect it to be? Uncharted is exactly what one should expect it to be. It is an entertaining action/adventure movie that rides high on the leads charisma but leaks from an over-the-top CGI filled finale and a burial of brewing pace and suspense.

STANKO RATING: C+ (2.5/5 Stars)

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