Nathan Drake. If you know the name you know the legacy. He is a character who helped define the greatness of the PlayStation 3. He is a modern-day Indiana Jones that gamers fell in love with. Now Sony Pictures and director Reuben Fleischer have decided it’s time for the gloriously cinematic and entertaining video game character to make his big-screen debut. Was it worth its weight in gold or is it fool’s gold?
Uncharted: A new legacy
Uncharted, the film anyway, follows young thief Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) as he lives his life stealing from the rich while also doing his best impression of Tom Cruise from Cocktail. That is until Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) shows up with an offer for a lost treasure trove of gold as well as the possible whereabouts of his wayward brother Sam.
Along the way, they’ll contend with other hunters of this legendary treasure and fall into one action set piece after the next.
Uncharted for me, a fan of the games, is something of a mixed bag. The set pieces are ripped straight from the game. The film even opens like the second game with Nathan waking up in a precarious situation. This isn’t the only moment though. Uncharted even uses the structure of the games as a template.
For example, the villain (Antonio Banderas) has a dangerous and deranged sidekick who is clearly the villainous version of Nathan (played by Tati Gabrielle). There is a nice addition of fan-favourite Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) who is easily the most interesting character in the film. Ali brings the exact charm and edge to the role that everyone adores about the characters in the games. With regards to Holland and Walhberg, they are fine. There is a forced edge to their relationship and it plays out poorly especially since it’s predictable. They are still fun together though and there are glimmers of the two iconic characters in the film every now and then.
Banderas is also a lot of fun, unfortunately, the film doesn’t know what to do with him and so his potential is squandered. Even though Banderas is giving his all in this performance.
Pretty but not worth much
One of the more interesting aspects of the film is the various locales they visit on their treasure hunt. Each location is well shot and full of energy. There is also a lot of fun to be had if you’re looking for nothing more than another contender for the Indiana Jones throne. It’s just a shame that this film is incredibly generic. The only reason the action works is that the scenes are ripped straight from the game. And that is where I ultimately fall with Uncharted. It feels like an Indy pretender with Uncharted set pieces to elevate what is lacking. Yes, there is fun to be had but it’s nothing original.