Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg star in the new action-adventure film Uncharted. The film is based on the video game franchise of the same name. The plot of the film follows a treasure hunt in which Holland and Wahlberg’s characters embark on an epic quest to find the lost gold left behind by the crew of famed explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The film includes tropes of the action genre such as betrayal, fights, and explosions, which are tied together in the emotional thread of Holland’s character searching for his lost brother and Wahlberg’s character understanding his greed and gaining the trust of his new adventure partner.
Holland leads the film as Nathan Drake, a bartender in New York City who has a knack for thieving. Nate’s interest in thieving comes from his admiration of his older brother Sam, who taught Nate about the great treasure of Magellan’s gold. Nate has not seen his brother in many years, with his only contact with him being a series of postcards sent by Sam during his adventures. Nate’s relationship with his brother gives him a stronger motivation for finding Magellan’s gold than the pursuit of profit, as the association between the treasure and Sam makes the treasure hunt much more personal to Nate.
Wahlberg plays Victor “Sully” Sullivan, a former associate of Sam who recruits Nate as his partner in crime. Sully also has kleptomaniac tendencies, but unlike Nate’s personal connection to thievery, Sully is motivated by greed. Nate reluctantly trusts Sully because of Sully’s connection to Sam. The age gap between Nate and Sully often leads to some moments of humor between the two.
Sophia Ali plays Chloe Frazer, a friend of Sully. Chloe is also on the quest to find the treasure because she gets a thrill from finding valuable objects. Chloe does not trust Sully and warns Nate not to trust him either. Antonio Banderas plays Santiago Moncada, who serves as the main adversary to Nate and Sully as he is also after the treasure. Moncada’s desire to get the treasure is personal, as his family financed Magellan’s trip five hundred years ago. Moncada believes that it is his birthright to have this treasure and will stop at nothing to get it. Tati Gabrielle plays Braddock, who is Moncada’s top henchman. Braddock is implied to have a romantic past with Sully and is a dangerous foe with her signature weapon, a curved knife. Steven Waddington plays a character called “The Scotsman.” This character is one of Moncada’s goons and has some comic relief moments during his fight scenes with Nate.
In an action movie, it is the use of action sequences that tie together the entire story. While CGI is used for some of the more extravagant set pieces, such as the plane and the ships, much of the action has a healthy dose of close-up hand-to-hand combat. The film could have benefitted from a few more action sequences, but the action sequences in the film were thoroughly entertaining. The film runs almost two hours, and the pacing of the film justifies the run time. There is never too much time dedicated to exposition and character development before the pacing picks up again. Sometimes character development was woven into the action sequences so that the action did not need to slow down to tell the audience something important about character relationships or how a character has changed.
The highlight of the film is its lead, Holland, who brings so much energy to each scene he appears in. Holland brings humor to the movie with his talent for delivering “quips.” There are many humorous moments from Holland throughout the film, especially between him and Wahlberg. Holland sells the emotional thread of the film well as his eyes show a specific twinge when he speaks of his long-lost brother. Holland’s emotional range in these scenes causes the audience to care for him in action scenes and root for him to find the treasure.
Score 3.5 out of 5.
Uncharted is certainly a standard action movie. The film delivers on the action sequences that were promised in the trailer while offering characters that the audience can care for. The highlights of the film would be its action sequences, set pieces, and the performance by Holland.