Uncharted (2022)

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Rafe Judkins, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Based on: the video games
Cast: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, Steven Waddington, Pingi Moli, Tiernan Jones, Rudy Pankow, Pilou Asbæk
Seen on: 15.3.2022

Nate (Tom Holland) makes a living as a bartender, occasionally supplementing his income with some well-chosen pickpocketing. After one such moment, he is approached by Sully (Mark Wahlberg) who invites him on a heist. The plan is to steal a priceless historic artefact that could lead to an actual treasure. Nate declines at first, but when he hears that his estranged brother Sam (Rudy Pankow) who he hasn’t seen in years, used to work with Sully, he is ready to go, hoping to take up a trail that will lead him to his brother. But can two thiefs and con artists like Sully and Nate ever trust each other?

Uncharted is fun for the most part, but in an ultimately a little tired way (and I’m not just saying that because I fell asleep for a bit during the action showdown). It has its moments, but it feels a little too empty.

The film poster showing a large headshot of Nate (Tom Holland) with smaller images of other important characters below him. Behind him is a compass and there are also people in boats.

I have never played an Uncharted game, nor do I know much about the franchise, so I really don’t know how the film holds up in comparison. But I do know that the film didn’t inspire me to check out the games now. It just didn’t leave me enthusiastic enough.

I do like the, basically, Indiana Jones knock-off energy of this one. Can it keep up with the originals? No. But that’s a tall order anyway and not necessarily what would have been needed to make the film work in the first place. It’s also not the cast, though one has to wonder why Wahlberg is in the film in the first place. It’s not like Holland can’t carry a franchise – and he does most of the work here anyway, proving not only once again that he has charm in spades, but also that he is super-physical in his performance. The best moments are when the film lets him loose in the fight scenes.

Nate (Tom Holland) having a discussion with Sully (Mark Wahlberg).

The problem is more that the film feels absolutely unfocused. Part of that lies in the nature of the plot that keeps its protagonist chasing after the treasure, but even so, it could and should have been less messy. The constant betraying of each other was overdone. The subplot with Nate’s brother never felt as impactful emotionally as it should have been (and the final scene here is so throw-away, I can’t believe that anybody thought about it for longer than 5 seconds. Otherwise they would have noticed that it makes no sense at all). Overall, the film feels a little unmoored as we never really get a clear sense of the location it takes place at.

This meant that by the time we reach the big final action, the film and/or me had run out of steam. I nodded off, and I didn’t mind at all. I didn’t think that the film had anything new to offer at that point anyway. And I’m pretty sure, I was right about that.

Nate (Tom Holland), Sully (Mark Wahlberg) and Chloe (Sophia Ali) debating how to proceed.

Summarizing: meh. It’s okay, but more would have been possible.

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