'Uncharted' Review: Tom Holland & Mark Wahlberg Seek Treasures In This Video Game Adaptation
Dust off your treasure maps and extremely plain shirts because we're off to places that are, simply, Uncharted. Ruben Fleischer directs this film based on the adventure video game franchise, adapted to big screen by Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway from a very nuanced story treatment by another writing team altogether. Tom Holland stars as Nathan ''Nate'' Drake, a 20-something New York City bartender and pickpocket in this version, who gets approached by an older treasure hunter called Victor ''Sully'' Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) for two different purposes. One is to find a hidden treasure from explorer Ferdinand Magellan's expeditions before billionaire Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) and his mercenary Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) manage to do that, other is to find Sam (Rudy Pankow) who is Nate's lost brother and Sully's former partner.
Not being familiar with the source material, a good place usually to start is whether the adaptation works so well that it might make you want to compare and contrast the outcomes. First 50 minutes of Uncharted more or less tease you with that intrigue; while it's not creative and neither does it tap into anything truly remarkable, the film does chug along at a decent pace with good screen chemistry between Holland and Wahlberg leading the way. Most of the action scenes are comprehensible since they're well edited by Chris Lebenzon and Richard Pearson, even bringing out some momentary excitement such as in the last big set piece. You don't also see photography like this in most recent blockbusters—courtesy of Chung-hoon Chung—which not only supports those action scenes and stunts but it also creates a great amount of depth in scenes where you're being assaulted by terrible writing and prefer to look around.
Fleischer and his cast especially find the right pitch for the material but in that writing the movie becomes way too predictable and dull, almost like it's written by an algorithm made from faceless Hollywood screenwriters. Holland, Wahlberg and Sophia Ali (playing Chloe Frazer, fellow hunter) try their best to be comedic and entertaining but they're constantly undermined by the ''backstabbing, not backstabbing, trust me, don't trust anyone'' plot twists that get very tiresome and don't serve already-thin characters at all. After an action scene in the middle featuring danger of drowning, writers also don't catch that it should've been a proper turning point for the whole story and instead things just keep getting dumber and dumber. Most noticeable part of that is the obnoxious amount of ADR lines that are there to hammer you nonstop, until you turn your brain off like you'd do to a console/computer when rage-quitting during a difficult task in a video game.
Smileys: Tone, cinematography
Frowneys: Dialogue, characterisation, screenplay
Don't trust, never trust a Chloe.