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  • Writer's pictureOli Law

Uncharted ★★

Ruben Fleischer

Starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophie Ali, Antonio Banderas, Tati Gabrielle

Video game movies are a lot like cursed pirate treasure. They tempt the willing victim with the promise of something missing from your life but ultimately leave you with less than you started. Ruben Fleischer’s Uncharted continues this trend by stamping the beloved franchise’s name into a thoughtlessly generic adventure flick.

Bartender-Conman Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) partners with experienced crook Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) in a globe trotting slug to find both Magellans lost fortune and Drake’s missing brother Sam. I didn’t intend for this to sound boring, but that’s just how it is.

Uncharted’s major flaws are it’s casting and characterisation. You can’t deny Holland tries with his pre-despised take on the titular hero, but ultimately he just isn’t Nate. Zero effort had been made to give Wahlberg any resemblance to fan-favourite ‘Sully’ and though their chemistry will fool the average movie-goer, it is indeed a sharp slap in the face to the fans.

The plot involves a mash-up of scenes taken straight from the games and quickly resolved puzzles for kids that make Hollands casting all the more understandable, though I will say the idea for the finale (clearly a mutation of the fourth game’s ending) is the only sequence that is more Uncharted than its influence.

But like the fourth game, the writers have forgotten what made the series so hypnotically dramatic. The higher power lurking in the background with potential world-ending stakes is nowhere to be found, thus giving the audience nothing to root for and zero tension from beginning to end.

We are left with actors only given name tags doing the best with what they’ve got, being told by a financial committee to follow the first draft of a script (almost at gunpoint) and that’s how this project feels.

Other than a minor cameo from voice-acting god Nolan North (The OG), you’ll find yourself longing for the controller and the life of the real Uncharted with every timeless minute that passes by. I think I heard the iconic theme for 3 seconds but I may have just been day-dreaming it.

As a long-time fan of the series, it’s heartbreaking to see characteristics and events of adored games watered down or out-right ripped away in this shameless take, but seeing the effort on Hollands face throughout is enough to guilt me into the extra star that avoids sending Uncharted to that special place in hell.

Uncharted available in cinemas now

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