Into another year, there is yet another video game adaption into a big-budget feature film. Not too many video game adaptations succeed on the big screen, but with the recent Mortal Kombat, fans were more than excited and intrigued at a new take on their beloved franchise. But with Uncharted, an adventure video game that started back in 2007, the stakes are higher in this family-friendlier version that combines Indiana Jones, National Treasure, and Tomb Raider all into one story. With an A-list cast and a giant budget, Uncharted the film still couldn't get off its feet, and instead landed inside a nonsensical, mildly fun arena that's void of any real character, thrills, or anything original. At best, it's Worth A Look for the curious.
Uncharted has been wanting to jump onto the big screen s nice 2008, one year after it became the hit video game on the Playstation 3. Since then, there have been tons of re-writes and cancelations and false starts until it all landed on Zombieland director Rueben Fleischer with Mark Wahlberg and Spider-Man's Tom Holland in the lead roles. The result is a very bland action film that rarely has fun with the exception of when Holland and Wahlberg are conversing the way brothers-in-arms do. Other than that, the action sequences are uninspired, lazy, and just plain joyless. In between these adventure beats lies a story about a young guy named Nathan Drake (Holland) who is asked by his missing older brother's friend Sully (Wahlberg) to head out on a mission across the globe to locate lost pirate treasure.
Of course, they aren't the only ones who know about or who are after this treasure. Several other assassins and billionaires including a fantastic Antonio Banderas are on the trail. That being said, the film would rather pull out too many swerves on its characters that would betray one another one moment and the next, become friends again, and then be enemies once again. This element happens way too much in the film and makes zero sense every time it does other than the fact that characters utter the lines like, "this is the business, trust nobody". Uncharted the video game has a ton of lore, background, and history, so it would be difficult to put any or all of it into one film, but the studio is definitely hoping this will be a franchise movie as evident by its two end credit sequences.
Uncharted marks the first big action film before summer, but the trouble is that it rarely has any fun with itself. Instead, it would rather heavily wink and nod to films like The Goonies or Indiana Jones on a consistent basis, and not in a fun way. The movie works well when it's being simple, including Drake and Sully using their Ocean's 11-like charms to pickpocket people and avoid capture. These sequences are exquisitely filmed and played out with the two actor's witty dialogue. But as soon as pirate ships are being carried by helicopter in a chase high in the sky, all logic and fun go out the window. None of it makes any sense, much like a Fast and Furious film. But in a Fast and Furious movie, everyone is in on the joke. That's not the case here. Maybe in a future sequel, the Uncharted franchise will become the Fast and Furious of the tropical treasure adventures.
Holland is always great with his physical performance as is his emotional turn about his long-lost brother. His Spidey sense comes to play here and there with his jokes, but it's more adult this time around. Wahlberg does the best he can in family-friendly comedy, but his essence is better played in more vulgar affairs. The villains in the film are less than stellar as well, which doesn't make the story or conflict go any further than to see if the good guys get anywhere with their loot. Uncharted isn't the film anyone was looking forward to, especially since it's been more than a decade on the horizon. Maybe the studio and filmmakers will learn to have more fun and make a more grounded story. Until then, Uncharted will mildly satisfy the most forgiving fans of the game.