The feature film adaptation of the popular PlayStation video game franchise “Uncharted” has been in development for so long that star Mark Wahlberg aged-out of his original role. Wahlberg was initially cast to play heroic adventurer Nathan Drake. But, with this project finally making it to the big screen, Wahlberg is playing older heroic adventurer Victor “Sully” Sullivan. Sully doesn’t get to do much butt-kicking or take off his shirt.
Those duties belong to Nathan — played by Tom Holland, who went from unknown to A-list movie star in the decade since Wahlberg was first attached to “Uncharted”. Holland, hot-off the overwhelming box office success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, is a very talented and likable actor. What he isn’t — and shouldn’t be forced into becoming — is the next Tom Cruise.
And boy — is “Uncharted” a wannabe Cruise movie. There’s mystery and peril, exotic locations, a hint of romance, twists and turns and an outrageously wacky airplane sequence that kicks-off the film (and we’re treated to most of it again later). It’s a law these days that every action movie *has* to have one of these high altitude, death-defying sequences. (Eye roll.)
Nathan and Sully are looking for billions in long-lost gold. Their quest takes them to an art auction, a ancient crypt, a mysterious island and even a Papa John’s in Spain. Also seeking the treasure is Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas in a brief, thankless role). A couple of tough ladies are in the mix as well, but neither Sophia Ali (as Chloe) or Tati Gabrielle (Jo) provide fireworks.
Holland and Wahlberg’s chemistry is more calculated than organic. Wahlberg has had much greater success paired with the likes of Will Ferrell, Rose Byrne and (most of all) Ted the bear. He doesn’t seem comfortable playing the aging, less useful sidekick. And Holland is not a natural as the lead, driving this duo. “Central casting — we have a problem.”
The execution of the uninspired script is just plain… plain. The screenplay is low on the intelligence meter, packed with cheesy lines intended to resonate: “Remember – if something’s lost, it can be found.” The film proves that one isn’t true.
I simply couldn’t buy most of everything in “Uncharted”: the prologue (which plays fast and loose with the timeline), Holland as a bartender/thief, the ridiculous chase scenes, all the stuff with maps and keys. And there’s a ship-show of a final section, with obvious green screen issues (there were reshoots last summer), and two extra scenes during the credits which set-up the sequel.
I just kept saying to myself: End already! Mark Wahlberg’s not getting any younger!
LCJ GRADE: D
Running Time: 116 min.