Uncharted Movie Review

Greatness from different beginnings..

Jeffrey Vega

Uncharted hits theaters on Feb. 18, 2022.

Uncharted is a simple, safe, but ultimately pretty effective introduction to treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Fans of the beloved PlayStation games might be surprised to see how much has changed to fit an Uncharted story in a single movie’s runtime – it squeezes in a new origin story while reenacting action sequences from multiple games – but it all makes for a decently fun sampling of what Nate and Sully have to offer on the big screen.

For an origin story, Uncharted ironically doesn’t waste any time explaining the backstories of any of the characters. We’re immediately thrown into the exploits of cocky young thief Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and veteran treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg), who tries to recruit Nate for an upcoming heist. They’re both looking for the next big score and that's really all the backstory you need to know. This allows Uncharted to hit the ground running, in a good way; I appreciate that the script doesn’t spend much time on unnecessary exposition, assuming you’re either in for the adventure or not. It doesn’t take long for Nate and Sully to meet up with the mysterious Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali), a fun and energetic addition who keeps everyone in this world-spanning adventure on their toes.

What’s your favorite Uncharted game?

As a fan of the games, the biggest question I had was if Tom Holland could pull off Nathan Drake, playing a slightly younger version of the character we know. The answer, thankfully, is yes. He’s as charismatic as ever, sinking his teeth into playing an Indiana Jones-type. I was never once distracted by the fact that this is the same actor who played Spider-Man in one of the biggest movies ever just a couple months ago.

Mark Wahlberg does a decent job playing a wise-cracking mentor to Holland, but some of the things that make Sully so recognizable in the game didn’t survive the transition to the film. Sully is iconic, at least in part, because of his thick mustache and dark, booming voice, none of which Wahlberg has. After all, there’s no reason they couldn’t have thrown a ‘stache on Wahlberg, which even young Sully has in the games. At times, it felt like Mark Wahlberg was just playing Mark Wahlberg in an action movie instead of, you know, Sully. That being said, Wahlberg and Holland have fun chemistry, including some very good emotional scenes, so it’s mostly pretty easy to look past him not being entirely loyal to the source material.

Mark Wahlber stars as Victor "Sully" Sullivan alongside Tom Holland as Nathan Drake. Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

The cat-and-mouse plot doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is exactly what I would expect from a movie based on the Uncharted games. Basically, if this were a two-hour video game cutscene (which, I guess, is technically a movie anyway), I never felt like I wanted to press the skip button. We don’t get many moments that lean into its video game origins, but the movie does a fine job bringing the world of Uncharted to life.

It plays it safe, seeing Nate, Sully, and Chloe engaging in witty and sometimes tech-heavy banter that isn’t prevalent in the games (for example, Nate makes fun of Sully for having Tinder on his phone). The trio gets into their fair share of fights, chase scenes, and booby traps as they go about collecting clues, solving puzzles, and traveling the world. It’s all pretty straightforward, but there were plenty of fun reminders that I was watching an Uncharted movie.

Plus, Uncharted sets itself apart from other generic heist movies by leaning in on its solid dialogue and the silly, immature ways Nate tends to act in deadly situations. Very early on, Nate bumps into fellow treasure hunter Moncada (Antonio Banderas), and the way they exchange quips is endearing in a cartoonish sort of way. These types of scenes will be fun for a casual audience, but for those familiar with the games, it’s a loving recreation of the defining traits we know and love the most about Nathan Drake.

Speaking of the villains, the ones here are mostly forgettable. Antonio Banderas is great, but he’s not on screen nearly enough; his hired gun ( Tati Gabrielle ) is meant to be an equal rival from Sully’s past, but so little time is spent with her that I had to look up her name (it's Braddock) after I finished watching because the few passing mentions weren’t memorable at all. The villains’ storylines are anti-climatic and one-dimensional, and any motives for seeking the big treasure beyond simple greed are unclear. In a way, though, it’s oddly fitting, because while the Uncharted games have featured many antagonists, the real evil has always been about what greed can do to people. That theme is present throughout the movie, and that’s good enough for me.

My favorite scenes in Uncharted all lived in the final act, where we finally see Nate and Sully in their element of pirate caves, shootouts, and shouting one-liners while being attacked by henchmen. It’s not until the end that we truly see the movie lean into its video game counterpart, with Holland running, jumping, and narrowly escaping death in moments that could have easily been a quick-time event.

The love for the games is especially present in two mid-credit scenes, and it made me wonder why this movie couldn’t have been more of a direct interpretation. While it gets away with doing a new origin story and remixing other storylines directly from the games, it left me wanting more in a frustrating way. Still, if it’s your first experience with Uncharted, it’s a solid adventure that benefits from Holland’s charm, no matter how straightforward the plot might be.

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Violence, language in too long game-based adventure.

Uncharted Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Like in the game, the movie takes place in a world

Central character Nate is intended to be seen as p

The two top-billed stars are White men. Within the

Frequent action violence, with many set pieces in

Flirting. A male character looks suggestively at a

Language and cursing includes "s--t," "son of a bi

Characters are pursuing a trove of gold from a los

Several scenes take place at bars, with characters

Parents need to know that Uncharted is a treasure hunt action-adventure movie that's based on the popular video game series featuring hero Nathan Drake (Tom Holland). Expect lots of largely bloodless action violence, much of it in the form of set pieces in which the main characters have to fight faceless,…

Positive Messages

Like in the game, the movie takes place in a world where people have few scruples and angle after ill-gotten gains (in this case, a missing treasure). Never considers what the Spanish treasure ship and the explorers who crewed it did to the land and people they plundered, nor whether finding and keeping the gold is worth the toll it ultimately takes.

Positive Role Models

Central character Nate is intended to be seen as principled compared to his fellow adventurers, who don't hesitate to double-cross each other. And he is indeed loyal to those he considers his friends, but he also kills dozens in his pursuit of wealth and never seems to question it. Sully and Chloe are even less principled, betraying each other at almost every turn, as well as killing conveniently anonymous villains.

Diverse Representations

The two top-billed stars are White men. Within the central quintet of tough, brave characters, two are young women of color; everyone else is male. An antagonist is a man of unspecified Latino heritage who frequently speaks Spanish. Female characters are sexualized with bare, clingy costumes.

Inclusion information : Middle Eastern/North African actors

Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent action violence, with many set pieces in which the main characters must fight their way into or out of situations. Characters are often in mortal danger -- e.g., a scene in which they're trapped in an underground chamber filling with water. Two people are accidentally ejected from an aircraft and fall through the air while taking out villains. Deaths take place on-screen, including scenes in which throats are slit, characters are stabbed, and people fall off of planes and helicopters; blood is infrequent, and only one dead body is visible at length. Guns are used/brandished. Most of the opposition that main characters face is of the anonymous-henchperson type, with assailants seen quickly and dehumanized by shots that hide their faces.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Flirting. A male character looks suggestively at a woman's body as she walks away; he's warned off by another character. References to characters being "together," and a scene in which characters are seen asleep in bed with the implication that they slept together. Female characters, particularly one antagonist, wear costumes that are impractically tight and bare; male characters are frequently seen shirtless.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Language and cursing includes "s--t," "son of a bitch," "hell," "bastards," "ass," "crap," "oh my God," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation). Characters frequently say something "sucks."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Products & Purchases

Characters are pursuing a trove of gold from a lost Spanish sailing foray; it's said to be worth billions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several scenes take place at bars, with characters ordering cocktails by name (martini, negroni) and a bartender showily twirling bottles. In another scene, characters bond by drinking wine; by night's end, all look bleary and exhausted, and the room is littered with perhaps 10 bottles (for three people). A character holds, but does not smoke, a cigarette.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Uncharted is a treasure hunt action-adventure movie that's based on the popular video game series featuring hero Nathan Drake ( Tom Holland ). Expect lots of largely bloodless action violence, much of it in the form of set pieces in which the main characters have to fight faceless, dehumanized minions to get into or out of a location. Characters are frequently in mortal danger, including dangling from a flying plane and being trapped in an underground cavern that's filling with water. Guns are used, and people are killed by being hurled off of vehicles and falling great distances; one has his throat slit, and viewers see some blood and his dead body. Sexual content is limited to flirting, suggestive looks, and a scene that shows people in bed, implying that they slept together. While two of the main characters are women who are depicted as just as strong and brave as the men, they also wear clingy and sometimes unrealistically bare costumes that would be difficult to fight in, including spiked heels. Language includes "s--t," "son of a bitch," "hell," "oh my God," and more. Characters drink frequently; in one scene, three people share at least 10 bottles of wine and appear bleary and sloppy afterward. One character holds a cigarette and tries to light it but doesn't succeed. Drake is depicted as more heroic than the other characters because he doesn't betray his fellow adventurers, yet, like them, he pursues the lost Spanish gold at seemingly any cost, without concern for death and injury.

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Based on the popular action-adventure video game series that started with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune , UNCHARTED focuses on the game's main protagonist: treasure hunter Nathan Drake ( Tom Holland ). Claiming that he and his long-lost brother, Sam (played as a teen by Rudy Pankow), are descended from renowned explorer Sir Francis Drake, Nathan is recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor "Sully" Sullivan ( Mark Wahlberg ) to search for the lost riches of Ferdinand Magellan, with the grudging accompaniment of their associate Chloe ( Sophia Ali ). But they aren't the only team on the hunt: Nathan and Sully's globe-trotting forays are closely followed by the ruthless and well-funded Moncada ( Antonio Banderas ) and his hired gun, Braddock (Tati Gabrielle).

Is It Any Good?

Beautiful to look at and crammed with heart-stopping adventure sequences set in picturesque foreign lands, this video game adaptation is thrilling, if overly long and morally iffy. What Uncharted mainly has going for it is adept adventure set piece directing and star Holland, who's an affable, even charming, lead. Nate is relatably anxious in the midst of mortal danger yet both game and good-humored, a fantastic foil for Wahlberg's Sully, who leans toward blank-faced derring-do. Holland's easygoing vibe makes viewers want to root for Nate on his quest in beautiful places and through immeasurable danger.

But that quest is more enjoyable if you switch off your brain before watching. It can't be denied that the only difference between Nate and Sully and the better-funded Moncada team that opposes them is that we're told the Moncada family is involved in criminal enterprises. Real bad stuff, the film tells us in a few throwaway lines, and then, poof!, Sully and Nate are seemingly cleared to kill as many people as they want in horrible ways in pursuit of treasure. That doesn't sound like a particularly heroic quest, but the film treats it as such (none of the characters questions whether this is a worthy goal, even when lives lost in the hunt mount into the dozens), which certainly detracts from the messages viewers might otherwise take away. Fans of the video games may not care: Scenes in which Nate and Sully leap through midair from planes and helicopters and ancient Spanish galleons are certainly exciting, and the Holland-and-Wahlberg buddy team is pleasant enough to anchor the movie if you don't think too hard about it.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about whether you need to have played any of the Uncharted games to appreciate this movie. Does knowing the game(s) help sharpen your enjoyment, or is the comparison distracting? Do video games typically make good fodder for movie adaptations? Why, or why not?

Many games have lots of deadly violence, with enemies killed in great numbers as the main character pursues their goal. How does the impact of that compare to what you see here?

How does Uncharted dehumanize the characters who die so that viewers don't consider their deaths important and it doesn't detract from the movie's flow? Is that OK?

How do you think viewers are meant to feel about Sully and Nate? About Chloe? Braddock? How do movies tell you who to root for and who to dislike? Consider that villains and heroes in this movie use the same ends to attain their means -- i.e., physical violence and trickery. With that in mind, what makes the heroes different from the villains?

Movie Details

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One Great Action Sequence and a Charming Performance from Tom Holland is Not Enough to Save ‘Uncharted’

The new film, which also stars Mark Wahlberg, continues the Hollywood trend of adapting video games into mediocre movies.

(L to R) Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in Columbia Pictures' 'Uncharted.' Photo by: Clay Enos.

(L to R) Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in Columbia Pictures' 'Uncharted.' Photo by: Clay Enos.

Opening in theaters on February 18th is the new action-adventure movie ‘ Uncharted ,’ which is based on the popular video game of the same name. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (‘ Venom ’), the film stars Tom Holland (‘ Spider-Man: No Way Home ’) and Mark Wahlberg (‘ Transformers: Age of Extinction ’) as treasure hunters Nathan Drake and Victor “Sully” Sullivan, respectively.

In addition to Holland and Wahlberg, the movie also stars Antonio Banderas (' The Expendables 3 '),  Sophia Ali (‘ Truth or Dare ’), Tati Gabrielle (’ The Emoji Movie ’), and Rudy Pankow (‘The Politician’). The result is another mediocre movie adaption of a video game with little to offer except one great action sequence and a charming performance from Tom Holland, but is an otherwise forgettable film.

‘Uncharted’ begins with an origin story for Nathan Drake (Holland) and his brother Sam (Pankow) before jumping forward to present day. Sam has gone missing and Nathan is working as a bar tender and pick-pocket when he is recruited by his brother’s former partner, Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Wahlberg) to look for the hidden treasure of the Magellan Expedition. Hoping to discover what happened to his brother, Drake agrees to help Sullivan, but he doesn’t trust him.

Their rival for the treasure is a wealthy businessman named Santiago Moncada (Banderas), who believes the treasure is his birthright, and mercenary Jo Braddock (Gabrielle). But in order to get to the treasure first, Drake and Sullivan will have to work with fellow fortune hunter Chloe Frazer (Ali), who possesses an important key to finding the hidden gold. Now, trusting no one, they must travel the world looking for clues to the treasure, while Nathan searches for answers to his brother’s disappearance.

I love video games, but let’s be honest, there has never been a great movie adapted from a video game. The list of mediocre movies adapted from video games is long and includes ' Warcraft ,' ' Assassin’s Creed ,' ' Doom ,' ' Hitman: Agent 47 ,' ' Need for Speed ,' ' Rampage ,' ' Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ,' and ' Max Payne ' (which also starred Mark Wahlberg). Unfortunately, you can add ‘Uncharted’ to that list.

But let’s start with what is good about the movie. The film begins with an incredible action sequence featuring Holland falling out of a plane, which is actually just a preview of the full sequence that actually takes place in the third act. The filmmakers were wise to start the movie with part of that action scene, since it is the most stunning sequence in the entire film.

(L to R) Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in Columbia Pictures' 'Uncharted.' Photo by: Clay Enos.

I have to wonder if the screenplay was designed that way, or if the filmmakers realized in post-production that they didn’t have an action sequence in the first 45 minutes of the movie and needed to pull some excitement from the third act. Either way it works but unfortunately, it is the only exciting action sequence in the movie, including the final fight scene.

Tom Holland is fantastic! The young actor known best for playing Spider-Man gives an absolutely charming performance as Nathan Drake. The character is tougher, and rougher around the edges than Peter Parker, but still has Holland’s signature sweetness and charm. The actor also buffed-up for the role and is completely believable in all of his action sequences. Like “ Tom Cruise hanging off the side of a plane ” believable! He completely out classes and out shines his co-star Mark Wahlberg and gives a very strong leading-man performance. It’s almost heartbreaking that Holland wasted his talent on such an ordinary film.

With a movie as unspectacular as ‘Uncharted,’ you have to look at the person behind the camera, in this case, director Ruben Fleischer. The filmmaker made a fantastic debut with 2009’s ‘ Zombieland ,’ but followed it up with disappointments like ’ 30 Minutes or Less ’ and ‘ Gangster Squad .’ Fleischer had a huge box office success with ‘Venom,’ but we can argue whether that was actually a good movie or not. And you have to wonder why the director was not asked back for ‘ Venom: Let There Be Carnage .’ That being said, Ruben Fleischer is a serviceable director at best. So, it should be no surprise that the direction of the movie lacks any real feeling of urgency or cinematic style.

While the movie is loosely based on “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” it incorporates elements of the mythos from the entire franchise. However, the screenplay unfolds like an actual video game, with no real plot other than “We have to go to A to get B to go to C.” With so much mythology to choose from, I wish they had incorporated more of that in the film and allowed it to drive the story, rather than having the story driven simply by “We have to achieve this goal to achieve the next.”

Actresses Sophia Ali and Tati Gabrielle are both fine in their roles, but not given enough to be truly memorable. Antonio Banderas’ villain is completely over-the-top and one dimensional, and isn’t given enough screen time to be truly threatening. Mark Wahlberg, who has been attached to this project for over a decade and at one point was going to play Nathan Drake, basically phones in his performance and is over shadowed by Holland in every scene. You never really get a sense of who the character of Victor Sullivan really is, and instead it feels more like Mark Wahlberg is just playing Mark Wahlberg.

In the end, ‘Uncharted’ is a just disappointing movie. The source material offers an extremely rich and intriguing mythology that basically goes to waste with no real character development explored at all. A commanding leading performance from Tom Holland and an exhilarating action sequence is just not enough to make ‘Uncharted’ a movie worth seeing.

‘Uncharted’ receives 2 out of 5 stars.


Jami Philbrick has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Moviefone.com. Formally, Philbrick was the Managing Editor of Relativity Media's iamROGUE.com, and a Senior Staff Reporter and Video Producer for Mtime, China's largest entertainment website. He has also written for Fandango, MovieWeb, and Comic Book Resources. Philbrick received the 2019 International Media Award at the 56th annual ICG Publicists Awards, and is a member of the Critics Choice Association. He has interviewed such talent as Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Dwayne Johnson, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Quentin Tarantino, and Stan Lee.

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Uncharted Movie Review

uncharted movie review

We all know that a vast majority of movies based on video games are going to be terrible. For whatever reason, Hollywood doesn’t think the stories featured in these mega popular games can stand on their own, so they must be changed. The changes would probably work if movie studios hired quality writers and directors, but they rarely do. Case in point, Sony and the upcoming Uncharted movie.

When Sony announced it was going to buy Bungie, one of the primary reasons was to turn its IP into films. It could be a good investment for Sony because Uncharted has already made $40M overseas despite the fact that it’s nothing more than a poor man’s Indiana Jones. Although the opening weekend is being fueled by Tom Holland’s recent Spider-Man success, and the name recognition of the brand, the quality of the film is middling at best.

We all know that the Uncharted games are an exceptional take on movies like Indiana Jones. So when you turn around and make a movie out of Uncharted, there’s a fairly high bar there. No one really expected the Uncharted movie to be just as good as most of the Indiana Jones films, but people were hoping for something more than what we got.

uncharted movie review

Taking a step back, Uncharted is not a terrible film. It has some high-flying action sequences, and there are times when you see the inspiration from the game clear as day. The problem is that if you want more than some action and a few nods to the game, you won’t find it here.

Uncharted plays out similar to National Treasure, and the Dan Brown movies like Da Vinci Code. But all of those movies are better than Uncharted in almost every way. That doesn’t mean Uncharted is bad, but it’s certainly underwhelming, and a missed opportunity. There’s nothing about Uncharted that makes it stand out, especially if you’re not a big fan of the games.

Related:  Uncharted Director ‘Working on’ Jak and Daxter Film Adaptation

Tom Holland stars as Nathan Drake, but if you said he was a powerless Peter Parker in this movie, it would be difficult to argue that claim. Holland plays the role almost exactly the same way he plays the Marvel superhero. Mark Wahlberg phones in the same kind of performance, mimicking many of his past roles, and not bringing anything new to the character of Sully.

uncharted movie review

Sony hired the director of the first Venom movie, and the writers behind Men in Black: International and Transformers: The Last Knight. To be clear, Sony hired the writers of the lowest grossing films in the Men in Black and Transformers franchises to write Uncharted. There seems to be a flaw in the logic of that decision, but those same writers are working on Sony’s upcoming Kraven the Hunter film, so Sony is clearly fond of them. For the record, Amy Hennig, the person responsible for much of the story in the Uncharted games, is not credited at all for anything to do with the film.

uncharted movie review

If you’re looking for some fun action and don’t really care about much else, you’ll find that in Uncharted and probably love the film for it. However, if you’re looking for something more akin to the games, or just an adventure movie that is close in quality to Indiana Jones or National Treasure, you won’t find that here. Uncharted is about as generic as it gets, with some sprinkles from the games thrown in for good measure. There is a mid-credits scene if you wish to stay through some of the credits.

Score: 4.5 out of 10

About the author, bryan dawson.

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Bryan Dawson has an extensive background in the gaming industry, having worked as a journalist for various publications for nearly 20 years and participating in a multitude of competitive fighting game events. He has authored over a dozen strategy guides for Prima Games, worked as a consultant on numerous gaming-related TV and web shows and was the Operations Manager for the fighting game division of the IGN Pro League.

More Stories by Bryan Dawson

Uncharted’s road to gold is plagued by its bros

Drake and his dad in the club meets tomb raider.

By Charles Pulliam-Moore , a reporter focusing on film, TV, and pop culture. Before The Verge, he wrote about comic books, labor, race, and more at io9 and Gizmodo for almost five years.

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Mark Wahlberg as Sully and Tom Holland as Nathan Drake.

Columbia Pictures’ new Uncharted movie from Venom director Ruben Fleischer is a testament to the idea that the longer much-buzzed-about adaptations of beloved franchises linger in development hell, the more likely they are to emerge from it — that is if they ever do — as warped misfires that might have been better kept in the drafts. Uncharted isn’t the first movie this is true of. But unlike so many other adaptations in this class, which tend to feel hamstrung by a lack of understanding of what people like about the source material, you do get the sense watching Uncharted that everyone involved vaguely “gets” what all the fuss is meant to be about. Uncharted knows what it’s supposed to be — the problem’s that it is profoundly uninterested in being that thing.

Uncharted draws upon elements from multiple Uncharted games in order to build a story around a younger, more inexperienced Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) who’s sucked into the jet setting, tomb raiding lifestyle after a not-so-chance encounter with conman / treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg). Though Nathan, a lonesome bartender with a troubled past and no close family in the present day, knows better than to trust smooth-talking strangers who pick pockets better than he does, Sully’s able to earn the younger man’s trust and recruit him onto a big job by playing up his connections and similarities to Nathan’s long-lost brother, Sam. 

Mark Wahlberg stars as Victor “Sully” Sullivan and Tom Holland stars as Nathan Drake in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. Photo by: Clay Enos

Technically, Uncharted opens on one of its surprisingly few major set pieces that take place towards the end of the movie before jumping back in time to focus on Nathan and Sully’s meeting. But Nathan’s path to lost treasure actually begins back in his adolescence when he (Tiernan Jones in flashbacks) and Sam (Rudy Pankow) were just two wayward boys sneaking out of their orphanage to steal valuable pieces of history from museums, as children are wont to do. What Uncharted attempts to do in its opening scenes is convey to you how Nathan and Sam’s love for treasure hunting and their being ripped away from each other in their youth laid the groundwork for the adult Nathan to become the sort of person to be won over by Sully’s charms. But what Uncharted inadvertently ends up doing instead is drawing attention to its own indecision about who its main character is and what kind of people they are.

Uncharted can’t decide who its main character is

Watching Holland and Wahlberg try to play off of one another in basically any of the movie’s comedic scenes is like gazing into a sharp crystallization of just how fraught Uncharted ’s journey to the big screen was. Long before it shifts fully into action mode, Uncharted tries to sell you on the idea of itself as a buddy adventure flick. But the bulk of Nathan and Sully’s banter falls flat due to an unfortunate blend of questionable chemistry and hackneyed dialogue that makes even the dullest of video game cutscenes shine by comparison. 

Wahlberg, who was one of the frontrunners to play Drake over a decade ago, neither seems particularly excited about nor down on the idea of playing Sully — he just looms like a reminder of the Uncharted movie that could have been. Holland’s Nathan is, by comparison, the more engaging of the two characters, but the degree to which Uncharted attempts to rely on Holland’s boyish charm to carry it ends up hurting the film in a way that becomes progressively more noticeable as it goes on and more characters are introduced. This might not be such a glaring issue if Nathan and Sully’s brotherly camaraderie wasn’t meant to be Uncharted ’s beating heart, and if the film had the wherewithal to at least try to make some of its supporting characters feel like people instead of walking, talking callbacks to the games.

Tom Holland, Sophia Taylor Ali and Mark Wahlberg star in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. photo by: Clay Enos

By the time that Nathan and Sully set out on their mission to track down a lost treasure hidden by Magellan’s crew, there’s still plenty of Uncharted to get through, but because the film can’t commit to a focus or a tone, it continues to feel much longer than it actually is all throughout.

The Uncharted franchise isn’t just Tomb Raider for Men™, but this movie is

Uncharted doesn’t really want you to think about why Sully and other hunters like Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) and Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) are only able to finally start getting leads once Nathan shows up even though they’ve all been hunting for this specific treasure for ages. The movie also doesn’t especially want you to notice the fact that none of the puzzle solving or clue hunting that Nathan himself does appear to be very difficult or clever. What Uncharted does want, though, is to give you the feeling of being whisked away to gorgeous, foreign locales, where no one takes much of an issue with folks showing up to hack away at valuable pieces of history.

The Uncharted franchise has its merits and isn’t just Tomb Raider for Men™, but that’s definitely the impression one could take away from this film for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, its apparent allergy to developing female characters beyond being quippy prizes for its male leads to lust after. Uncharted ’s greatest sin, however, is the sureness with which it presents you with the potential for future installments — installments this movie’s ending neither earns nor warrants.

Uncharted also stars Antonio Banderas, Steven Waddington, and Pingi Moli and hits theaters on February 18th.

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