Uncharted movie review & film summary (2022)

Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) was conceived as a throwback to Indiana Jones and the serial adventure films that inspired him. He should be a smooth-talking treasure hunter, someone who exists in a slightly gray moral area wherein stealing priceless artifacts is warranted because no one else can really appreciate them like Drake. Holland has the agility but quite simply lacks the weight and world-weariness that is needed for a character like Drake, who was raised in an orphanage and is willing to steal to make ends meet. If Indiana was typically the smartest person in a room, Drake needs to be the one with the sharpest instincts, someone who sees the puzzles of history from a place of expertise and courage. Holland is a smart actor, but he’s just wrong here, always looking a little bit like a kid dressing up as his favorite video game character.

While working at a bar and stealing jewelry from his patrons, Drake is approached by Victor Sullivan aka Sully (Mark Wahlberg), who tells him that he got close to one of the most famous lost treasures in history with Nathan’s brother Sam. They stole the diary of the famous explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano, which will guide them to treasure that was hidden by the Magellan expedition. They quickly cross paths with Santiago Moncada (an Antonio Banderas so wasted that one has to believe half his part was cut), the heir to the family that funded the original expedition. Moncada’s will is enforced by the tough Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) and the boys reunite with an old colleague of Sully’s in Barcelona named Chloe Frazier (Sophia Ali, who pretty much steals the movie).

“Uncharted” bounces these characters off each other on a journey to Spain and the Philippines, but nothing ever has any weight to it. It’s green screen performing that ignores how much setting can matter in a film like this one. Design never once feels like a consideration, whether Nathan and Chloe are crawling through a non-descript tunnel to hidden treasure or Sully is getting into one of the few fight scenes in an actual Papa John’s. A film like “Uncharted” needs to transport audiences. We need to go on the journey, not just watch actors pretend to fall out of planes. Again, the “Uncharted” games take players around the world. You’ll never once get that feeling during this cold, distant adventure film.

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