My favorite movie genre is action adventure, and it’s rare to find a big studio film that gets it as right as “Uncharted.” Based on the popular PlayStation video games, this high energy story of treasure hunters is exciting and a ton of fun. While it doesn’t quite meet the gold standard of the best of the best in the genre (“National Treasure,” “The Goonies,” “The Mummy,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”), it’s definitely hovering close to the same ballpark. This is the kind of movie that critics will love to hate just because audiences rate it close to a perfect 10.
While tending bar at work, petty thief Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is approached by seasoned fortune seeker Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) in an attempt to recruit him for a side gig. Sully needs help recovering Ferdinand Magellan’s pirate ships filled with gold that was lost over 500 years ago, and he thinks Nathan is just the man he needs at his side. As the two decipher clues, they embark on a jet-setting trip around the world in a race to be the first to the treasure.
It’s a great story, and no knowledge of the video game on which it is based is necessary. Wahlberg and Holland have a nice chemistry, and their banter is silly but amusing. They are both likeable actors on their own but when working together, they are a powerhouse onscreen duo. The supporting cast includes several strong female characters (Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle), all clever and a bit ruthless in their own right, and none of which need to be rescued. These are solid characters, but admittedly, the action sometimes overpowers them.
Director Ruben Fleischer knows how to film thrilling action set pieces and although the scenarios faced are ridiculous, they still offer supersized fun. From an outrageous extended scene that culminates in a vintage Mercedes plummeting from a cargo plane to a helicopter flying pirate ships out of an overgrown jungle, the execution is unforgettable. Even the standard Indiana Jones style of exploring dark caves with torches and studying treasure maps for clues is done well here.
Despite a couple of missteps in fight choreography (especially Gabrielle, who isn’t very good at acting like a combat pro), the physical stunts are high quality. Ditto for the extravagant CGI and special effects, which look near-flawless.
The film is rated PG-13 so the violence and blood are muted, and there are no sex scenes or cursing, which in a way is refreshing. The script is detailed without feeling generic, and if you are willing to suspend disbelief, you’ll enjoy the ride a lot more.
I can’t think of much to criticize about “Uncharted.” Not only is it extremely well done, it kept me smiling for two solid hours. This movie is awesome and exactly what I am looking for when it comes to a big budget action adventure. It delivers a guaranteed good time at the movies.
By: Louisa Moore