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Review: Uncharted (2022)

Uncharted (2022)

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

Premise: Based on the video game. A treasure hunter (Mark Wahlberg) recruits a young man (Tom Holland) to locate a fortune of gold that’s been missing for hundreds of years.

What Works: Uncharted has the feel of action movies from a decade ago such as Prince of Persia, the Da Vinci Code films, and the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. It has an equivalent scale and similarly stylized action but Uncharted is a bit more fun than those movies largely due to its likable cast. The film is led by Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland as a treasure hunter and his partner. They poke fun at each other and the banter between Wahlberg and Holland is agreeable. They are joined by a third treasure hunter played by Sophia Ali. She and Holland have a romance that generally works and gives the movie some human warmth. None of these characters trust each other and their suspicions and double crosses create some tension while also complicating the personal relationships.

What Doesn’t: Uncharted is never very thrilling. There are a couple of standout set pieces, especially a fight aboard a cargo plane, but the pacing is erratic, often starting and stopping suddenly. A lot of this story doesn’t make sense or relies on coincidences. The brother of Tom Holland’s character sent him clues about the treasure but the message is not intuitive. The villains of Uncharted are an aristocrat played by Antonio Banderas and a mercenary played by Tati Gabrielle. Their story goes sideways hallway through the film with Gabrielle’s character making an illogical choice. But the overwhelming problem of Uncharted is its lack of stakes. This film exists in the same genre as the Indiana Jones series and those films attached serious consequences to the outcome. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones had to keep the Ark of the Covenant out of the hands of the Nazis and Temple of Doom tied the sacred stones to the liberation of enslaved children. There is no reason to care who gets the treasure in Uncharted. Nearly every character in the film is an unsympathetic backstabber and no one has a compelling personal story. Absent of any stakes, the competition for the treasure has no dramatic significance and there’s nowhere for the audience to make an emotional investment in the outcome of the story.

Bottom Line: Uncharted is passable but forgettable entertainment. It emulates movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and National Treasure but it is nowhere near as good as those films.

Episode: #892 (February 27, 2022)