Uncharted (2022) is okay for a speed run but you’re unlikely to play it again and again.

Uncharted Review
Score 6

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I haven’t played any of the UNCHARTED games. Not one. In fact, the only reason I was able to recognise some of the nods to the source material was from trailers and game covers. Well, that and the cameo from the Nathan Drake voice actor (confirmed later by Wikipedia) because it was so leadenly obvious.

As a young orphan, Nathan Drake and his brother Sam are caught while trying to steal an ancient map that may lead to Magellan’s lost treasure. In the aftermath, Sam runs away, promising to come back for Nathan someday. Fifteen years later, Nathan (Tom Holland) is making his way in the world as a small-time hustler when he’s recruited by Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) who offers him an opportunity to search for Magellan’s treasure once more – and maybe even reunite with his brother.

Globetrotting adventure has never seemed as generic as UNCHARTED makes it – even SAHARA had more spark than this. What should be fun, and feels like it might have some of the right ingredients to be fun, more often than not feels flat and obligatory, thanks to a mismatched cast that can’t seem to establish any real chemistry across the predictable web of double and triple crosses that pepper the set-piece shenanigans. Tom Holland is charming enough as the hero but he’s just too fresh-faced, squeaky clean and protected by plot armour to gain any real traction in the audience’s feelings. There are no real moments of vulnerability to make the superhuman agility and stamina less incredible, something the Indiana Jones movies (namechecked in UNCHARTED) understood all too well. Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, deploys his usual brand of screen anti-charisma, seemingly oblivious to how out of place and ill-suited he is to this kind of frothy pulp adventure. The clearest sign he’s wrong for the part is that the movie is always better when he’s off-screen. The villains are weakly defined and vapidly interchangeable, only there to provide a loose framework to justify the contrived action sequences which belie UNCHARTED’s video game origins.

The action’s decent enough to watch on a big screen but director Ruben Fleischer doesn’t seem able to capture the breezy camaraderie of his ZOMBIELAND movies here – despite his playful approach to location captions and the movie feels more like a derivative Michael Bay remake of THE GOONIES than anything with its own sense of identity. It’ll pass the time while you chow down on the popcorn and drain a giant soda, but it’s unlikely to make much of a mark on a map of cinema history.

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