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UNCHARTED gets 4.5/10 Leaves you shipwrecked


Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali, Antonio Banderas

4.5/10

Uncharted opens with the iconic scene shown in the trailer, where Nate Drake (Tom Holland) is flung from a cargo plane, tethered to some crates. Once hit by the red roadster, the audience is thrown back into Drake’s quickly cobbled back history to elicit some empathy for his potential character arc – spoilers: there isn’t one.

After grifting an oblivious trust fund baby, Drake is picked up by Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) for a new job opportunity in a sudden, and vague, meeting – starting his adventure off with style, and sarcasm – later discovering a thin connection between Sullivan and his long-lost brother.

The audience is then rushed into a short-lived scene where Drake and Sullivan live out their Ocean’s Eleven moment, before the viewer is whisked away to the next chapter in Barcelona – where we are introduced to Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali). At this point we have had the headache of being introduced to eight different people, of which none are important (such as Antonio Banderas as Moncada, and Tati Gabrielle as Braddock – both equally forgettable antagonists).

Chloe, a sophisticated Australian grifter, becomes a third accomplice, and merely a vehicle for Sullivan’s trust issues. Players of the game may remember Chloe Frazer as a strong, self-assured British woman who tends to lead Drake in situations, whereas her movie-persona is lacking in any meaningful development akin to her original character. Further from this, no characters have much substance, and despite Drake having some history, it’s hard to hold sympathy for the character.

After a somewhat hastened treasure hunt with the trio, resulting in another clue and double-cross, the story returns to its beginnings – Drake being hit with the red roadster, and being the most interesting sequence of the whole movie, despite it taking up too much screen time (second only to the ships being helivaced from their tombs).

Montages take up the breadth of the storytelling, to cut to the action – which is typical of adventure movies such as Indiana Jones. However, from its origins in the video games, the original fan base tends to enjoy the nuances of the investigation, and character dialogue for its immersion – which was severely lacking in this film.

As with other adaptations of the like, there’s an element of an inside joke, as the audience may be missing out on context clues, and game-specific jokes. This seems odd, out of place, or unnecessary at times to anyone who has no idea about the series.

Whether you’ve seen National Treasure, Lara Croft/Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, or any other heist film to date – you’ve seen Uncharted. The movie does not reinvent the wheel, but instead tries to coat it in gold. Like the games, the movie gives boyish humour and simple scripting, with impressive stunt choreography, and some well-timed quips – but if nothing else, it is always good to see Holland with his top off.

With a final scene teasing an Uncharted 2, it would be best if it was left Untouched instead.

JOSHUA HALL HAINES

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