Uncharted (2022) – Ruben Fleischer

Some questionable narrative choices and other stylistic angles held Uncharted back from being a solid blockbuster and probably crippled its chances of turning into a franchise, which is too bad, because despite the drubbing it took, most of the film is really fun, and there’s a nice interplay between Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg who play the film’s heroes, Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan.

Missing his brother Sam, who disappeared without a trace before he could be arrested by authorities (who let him go to his room to gather his belongings before he was taken away), history buff Nathan Drake, descended from Sir Francis, is a minor thief and a helluva bartender.

When he’s recruited by his brother’s former partner, Sullivan, to recover some lost treasure, Nathan finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime as he, Sully and another treasure hunter, Chloe (Sophia Ali) race to put together the clues and find the hidden gold before the baddies in the form of Moncado (Antonio Banderas) and Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) kill them or get it first.

There is some fun humour, some interesting set pieces and a fairly enjoyable treasure hunt. I think a little more attention on all of them, a stronger script, and honestly, perhaps a different choice of director could have been something a little more. It could have transcended its genre and launched a series. It’s been done before, the right story could do it again.

Holland is eminently likeable, and he brings an effortless charm to almost everything he does, and while he feels a little young to be the Nathan Drake of the videogames, he seems just right to be the Nathan who becomes the one in the games.

Wahlberg is a lot of fun as Sully, and watching the two characters verbally spar has a genuine feel to it. Ali’s Chloe isn’t quite developed enough, but both she and Gabrielle work with what they have, and Banderas is quietly menacing but doesn’t really feel threatening as the baddie.

It’s a fun diverting entry, and arguably one of the better videogame movies that have been made, but a stronger story and director may have made this one really something. Give us a truly expansive globetrotting story, a cross between Raiders of the Lost Ark, a heist film, and a Bond film, and keep Holland.

Come on Sony/Playstation, you can do this right. You’ve got the cash flow to attract the right talent, give us something truly amazing.

For now, I really want to dig out the games again and play my way through them. When’s my next day off?

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