Movie review: 'Uncharted' does feel like a big-screen video game

Fred Hawson

Posted at Feb 26 2022 10:35 AM

Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in 'Uncharted.' Handout
Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in 'Uncharted.' Handout

Treasure hunter Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) was hot on the trail of Magellan's legendary lost stash of gold. He solicited the help of bartender/petty thief Nathan Drake (Tom Holland), who was the long-estranged brother of Sully's old partner Sam Drake, who had disappeared after they stole Juan Sebastian Elcano's diary. Sully was hoping that Sam may have left clues with Nathan which would point him to the treasure. 

Their adventure led them to encounter bad guys Salvador Moncada (Antonio Banderas), a direct descendant of the family who financed Magellan's expedition, and his ruthless mercenary hitman Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle). Along with Sully's contact Chloe (Sophia Ali), the three bickering treasure-hunters follow clues found in a old church in Barcelona, which led them to a map that indicated the gold to be found in the Philippines. 

The movie started with Nathan in immediate danger midair with his foot entangled on the straps bound around crates hanging out of a flying airplane. This opening scene alone tells us that the adventures here will be over-the-top and CGI-driven. We will feel like we are in a big-screen video game. This is after all the maiden cinematic venture of Playstation Productions, "Uncharted" being one of Playstation's most successful series.

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The basic formula is practically similar to the recent Netflix heist film "Red Notice" -- three treasure hunters, two wisecracking male and one ass-kicking female, each do not completely trusting each other, tracking down clues in different countries to find a big treasure. Tom Holland (still on his "Spider-Man:No Way Home" high) and Mark Wahlberg take over from Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson, but Sophia Ali was no Gal Gadot.

The "Da Vinci Code"-like investigation in the church of Santa Maria del Pi had jargon that we should not over-analyze to enjoy. 

The best sequence had to be that grand climactic chase scene involved two helicopters, each with an ancient galleon suspended under it, flying over rocky islets in the open ocean, while the human characters were scrambling and fighting up and down trying to knock each other off -- just like a video game indeed. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."