Uncharted Review: Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg's movie is ultimate action euphoria, albeit a lot less heart

Tom Holland valiantly shoulders Uncharted while Mark Wahlberg plays second fiddle, with extravagant action sequences and a lot less heart in tow. Read Pinkvilla's review below.

Updated on Feb 19, 2022 01:54 AM IST  |  124.9K
Uncharted Review
Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg play Nate and Sully in Uncharted.

Uncharted

Uncharted Cast: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg

Uncharted Director: Ruben Fleischer

Uncharted Stars: 3/5

Uncharted has been a long time coming! How long, you ask; well, Mark Wahlberg was a shoo-in to play Nathan "Nate" Drake before Tom Holland was considered an obvious age-appropriate choice. In consolation, Marky Mark was bestowed with the role of Nate's mentor Victor "Sully" Sullivan while Ruben Fleischer was not the first choice to adorn the director's hat. The movie adaptation of the cult video game sees Nate and Sully embark on a globe-trotting journey of epic proportions, but does it live up to the overhyped expectations? Let's find out!

For the ones not aware of the video game history, Uncharted sees Sully, a fortune hunter who worked with Nate's elder brother Samuel "Sam" Drake (Rudy Pankow) enlist Nate's genius 'investigative' mind aka a history nerd to track the mysterious treasure hidden by the Magellan crew of the Magellan expedition. Nate agrees to the team up on an emotional note, in the hunt for his brother. Together, the pair embark on a tropical journey across the globe, hopping into one hellish action sequence after another (at least Holland does!) as they encounter their adversary in Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) of the Moncada family, who is on a similar pursuit of the seemingly untraceable gold. Two other key fierce and powerful players include Sully's estranged associates - Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) and Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) - who also have their treacherous eyes on the treasure.

With video game-turned-movie adaptions, there's a stereotypical mindset that believes it to be all action and no talk. With Uncharted, the writing team - Rafe Lee Judkins, Jon Hanley Rosenberg and Mark D. Walker - and Ruben, take multiple creative liberties, the major one being making Nate and Sully younger than their video game ages. This means the amicable nature between Nate and Sully in the video game is at its awkward "not" so meet cute stage in the film. Keeping trust issues as a major plot point between the bromance quotient of Nate and Sully (and quite literally the whole movie!), you're never really invested in it, which is a shame, given how that equation is what makes Uncharted such a popular game.

As for the performances, after delivering his career-best act yet; to be noted, he is only 25 years of age, in mega-blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home, Tom valiantly shoulders the responsibility of carrying the extravagant action sequences which make up for three quarters of Uncharted. It's almost like Holland was playing Peter Parker (with a few shirtless muscle flexes like a product placement!), parkouring his way through beautiful locales, just without the web-slinging. Tom tries his best to bring an emotional punch with the brotherhood storyline, but with a meagre script that's just all about the thrills, you genuinely can't relate to Nate, even if you really want to for Holland's genuineness.

On the other hand, Mark is reduced to second fiddle and Wahlberg genuinely looks like he'd rather be anywhere but in the Uncharted universe. Since Tom is doing the major lifting with the epic fight sequences, Mark is almost MIA from crucial scenes and is rather reduced to a cat-loving, apps-obsessed middle-aged man, obsessed with gold, but not really contributing to the treasure hunt. Even the camaraderie between the duo is painful to watch, trying hard to imitate Peter Park and Tony Stark's electrifying, loveable bromance in the MCU, in a Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque set up. However, Sully is never treated as an equal lead character to Nate's storyline.

Antonio's one-dimensional villain, with an abysmal Batman-esque baritone and caricaturish mannerisms, is simply wasted space. In retrospect, what Uncharted gets right is two bada*s women in a supposed "It's a man's, man's, man's world". Sophia as Chloe is a firecracker as she matches toe-to-toe with Tom's Nate-ly exuberance while Tati as Braddock is how grandiloquent we wish Mark's Sully should have been portrayed as on screen.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Mark Wahlberg quips why he's 'not asking Uncharted co-star Tom Holland for any fitness tips'

Another thing that works wonders for Uncharted, and will definitely reign in the cha-ching at the box office, is as I mentioned, the heart-thumping, larger-than-life action euphoria. All the pun intended! A personal favourite scene is the one teased in the trailers of Tom holding on for dear life to cargo boxes as he's thrown out of an aircraft, with the bad guys aplenty. There's also an earlier party showdown, which sees the stunt team's creative juices flaring at an all-time 'fun' high, while the final fight sequence is equally enticing with a grand send-off. What's kudos-worthy is how you're genuinely made to believe that every death-defying stunt was real and that's partly thanks to Tom embodying his Spider-Man-esque athletic prowess, Shepherd Frankel's aesthetic production design, that brings realism even on green screen, and Chung-hoon Chung's elaborate cinematography that oscillates between panorama and POV, in equal tones. P.S. The catchy music in Uncharted has an appeal in itself and that's thanks to the brilliant mind of Ramin Djawadi.

With two post-credits sequences blatantly confirming a sequel in the works, Ruben Fleischer's Uncharted takes its video game lineage and the credible star power of Tom Holland for granted as nothing but a cash cow. And begrudgingly, the formulaic approach works. With the uniquely shot action pieces, you're left marvelling over the abstract painting, albeit with a lot less heart and some godawful puns (the obvious Indiana Jones inspiration is literally namedropped!). At least Tom Holland heroically attempts to save the day!

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