Uncharted is a moderately enjoyable adventure without many surprises
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Uncharted, currently in theaters, is an action-adventure film based on a popular video game series in which fortune hunters race each other to track down a 500-year-old treasure. The action takes place all over the world, but ironically, considering the name, the film doesn’t take the genre in any new directions.
Tom Holland (who most recently played Spider-Man) stars as Nathan Drake, a young pickpocket who believes himself to be descended from the English explorer Sir Francis Drake. Because of the Drake ancestry, Nate’s family has dreamed of finding the world’s greatest treasure, Magellan’s lost gold. Mark Wahlberg plays Sully, another adventurer hunting for the gold who recruits Nate to help him steal the final key needed to discover the treasure’s location.
But Nate and Sully aren’t the only ones after Magellan’s treasure. Antonio Banderas plays Santiago Moncada, a wealthy Spanish businessman who believes he’s the rightful owner of the treasure because his family financed Magellan’s expedition 500 years earlier. The stakes are high. Five billion dollars tempts everyone to steal, betray, and murder, and Nate never knows if he’s safe even among his friends.
Uncharted, rated PG-13 for action and language, is a pleasant enough film in the vein of Indiana Jones or National Treasure. It has a few humorous moments, but the movie doesn’t contain many surprises. The story plods along, settling for types and tropes we’ve seen before in better movies. Our adventurers solve intricate puzzles laid out in ancient journals making use of priceless relics. They travel to European and Asian locales and run around in crypts and in caves, dodging booby traps and bad guys. The lack of originality is too bad because the Uncharted video game series gained acclaim for its inventive storytelling and engaging characters.
Holland is as likable as ever in this film, and Banderas offers a solid performance. But Wahlberg’s performance suffers from his attempt to play Sully with detached irony. Sully and Nate’s dialogue was meant to sound like witty banter, but Wahlberg’s delivery deprives his lines of the necessary snap and leaves their scenes feeling lifeless—which is a shame in such an energetic movie.
In this movie, Holland isn’t playing Spider-Man, but he flips and twists and jumps as much as he does when wearing the blue-and-red tights. To distract viewers from the lack of plot, Holland moves through scenes in parkour style, spending almost as much time bouncing off walls as he does with his feet on the floor.
Many of the film’s flaws are forgivable because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. These modern-day pirates engage in the most absurd aerial chase scenes I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for an action adventure unburdened by a coherent story, Uncharted might tide you over until the next superhero installment.
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