I guess there really is no honor among thieves.  

As a fan of the PlayStation game series, I went into the Uncharted movie - also from Sony - with tempered expectations.  The movie has been in development Hell for a number of years - long enough for both Castle’s Nathan Fillion, who would have been perfect for the role (and probably still is, regardless of his age), and Mark Wahlberg to both age out of the role of Nathan Drake, a globe-trotting treasure hunter.

"yet another example of why video game adaptations don’t work"

And now, because Sony wants a young person to age into the role, audiences get Marvel’s Peter Parker as Nathan Drake and Wahlberg as a 'stacheless Victor “Sully” Sullivan, an explorer and antique-dealer who acts as a father-figure and mentor to Nate.  Unfortunately, neither actor gets their part right and we are left to wallow in the mud of missed opportunities thanks to a screenplay that is about as lifeless as their acting is.  Instead of actually enjoying the roles, both Holland and Wahlberg present to the audience THEMSELVES as treasure hunters.  

While fun (to a degree) thanks to the double-barreled offering empty-headed aerial stunts, Uncharted is relatively flat as neither actor pulls off anything worthy of actually using the namesake of the Uncharted game series.  Sure, there are moments and stunts ripped from the game series and, yes, we even have a cameo from Nathan Nolan, who voiced and was the motion-capture figure for Nate in the game series, but the film - even when it is busy airlifting two pirate ships from deep within the cavernous cove of their final resting place - fails to capture the chemistry, the characterization, and even the humor of the series.

At least the filmmakers got some of the stunts right, though.  It’s a shame that screenwriters Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway couldn’t get more characterization from an auction house heist and a limp search for Ferdinand Magellan’s lost gold.  Instead, we get dumb jokes about Nate's gum-chewing and Sully leaving too many apps on his phone open.  Uncharted  

Maybe I expected too much from director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Venom), who obviously knows how to work this material and whip it into a solid, tonal effect.  Or maybe this film is yet another example of why video game adaptations don’t work.  Hollywood STILL doesn’t know why even casual gamers like the games.  It seems like a no-brainer to me, but whatever.  

I might not have been expecting deep and meaningful conversations from Uncharted, but - considering the flashback with Nate as a young kid getting into trouble with his older brother (who is now missing) at an orphanage (because their parents are dead) - that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to provide SOME characterization for this poorly written buddy quest adventure flick.  Even the baddies Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) and Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) are bland and lifeless.  And the only thing I got from Chloe (Sophia Ali) is that she’s distrusting and upset all of the time.  This is a one-note greatest hits party, and it does nothing to make a star out of anyone involved.

With Uncharted, it’s more of the same and, honestly, I’m stupid to expect something different.  Want a fun, cinematic adventure full of beloved characters?  Play the damn game again because there’s nothing close to that in this movie.

Uncharted?  Think again.

2/5 stars


Film Details


MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence/action and language.
116 mins
: Ruben Fleischer
Rafe Judkins and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway
Tom Holland; Mark Wahlberg; Antonio Banderas
: Action | Adventure

Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Columbia Pictures
Official Site: https://www.unchartedmovie.com/
Release Date:
February 18, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: 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.