Uncharted is based on the popular Playstation video game series and it will probably still appeal to people who aren’t fans. Yet for a movie using that title, the plot seems to follow many paths previous (and better) movies like this went down. You can’t help but see elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Romancing the Stone and National Treasure mixed in with the high-octane action sequences of the Jason Bourne movies.
That being said, I wished the movie could’ve been better. It has a great opening in which Nathan “Nate” Drake (Tom Holland) awakens as he is hanging on by a foot in cargo straps dangling outside of an airplane many feet in the air. He is also having to leap like Peter Pan from one strapped cargo bundle to the next as henchmen try to kill him. The scene is so ludicrous but is a great opening, you wish the rest of the movie was the same.
We find out that Nate was an orphan with his brother, Sam, and they tried to steal a map of Megellan’s expedition from a Boston museum when they were kids. They are caught but Sam is expelled. And you can’t have anything revolving around Boston without Mark Wahlberg appearing as Victor “Sully” Sullivan, a season fortune hunter who worked with Sam, tracking down Nate as he works as a bartender in New York City. Sam vanished after helping Sully retrieving the diary of Juan Sebastian Elcando, who was on the the Magellan expedition.
Sam has been sending Nate postcards but that has stopped. Sully tells Nate he has one of the golden crosses linked to Magellen’s expedition but needs the second one. There’s is an auction scheduled and Sully needs Nate to create a diversion that will allow him to snatch the cross. But at the auction is Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), a shady wealthy man, and Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle), leader of his mercenaries. Nate battles with some of these mercenaries as Sully manages to steal the cross.
Unfortunately, the action scenes in this part as well as the rest of the movie follow the same style of Gene Kelly/Donald O’Connor style that have become more prominent in these movies for the past 20 years or so. It’s not enough to see someone throwing punches and roundhouse kicks, they got to do it with a flare as they literally bounce off the walls. The filmmakers say they based some of the fight scenes on Jackie Chan movies yet Chan still manages to show some real-life consequences in his movies.
When O’Connor did backflips on the wall in the Singin’ in the Rain, it looked exciting. But here it looks so boring. We’ve seen this before too many times. When you realize that from here on there’s goiing to be several more of these action scenes as one of the good guys fights with one of the bad guys for a gun that somehow has unlimited ammunition and people have enough resistance they can be slammed up against a wall and not need anytime to recover. In Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone, you could see it was taking its toll on Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas. In real life, a good punch would probably stun someone or worse cause damage, but here they do even seem to get a bruise or scrap.
Worse, Nate and Sully seem to have a back and forth banter of quips that seems more forced than necessary. It’s like if a minute of screen time goes by without a quip, the filmmakers must have thought the audience would lose interest. The same thing was done in the first two Spider-Man movies that Holland were in. It didn’t work there either.
Also added to the plot is Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali), an associate of Sully’s and a fellow fortune hunter who may be out to double-cross them. Or is Sully going to double-cross Nate. I never fully got the sense that Nate and Sully were working as a team. And Chloe feels like she was added as a love interest but that idea was vetoed and they couldn’t figure out what to do with her so after building her up, she is absent from the climax.I checked and in the video games, Nate and Chloe do have a romantic history, but maybe the filmmakers decided to wait for the sequel.
In the end, I couldn’t help but notice how the movie borrows a lot from The Goonies as they find treasure on a long lost ship leading to a sequence that never really feels as thrilling as they thought it would. But really the movie is nothing more than a series of action scenes like the cargo on the plane as the actors jump from one to the other. The overall plot is never as compelling as it should be. But without a worldwide box office of over $400 million against a $120 million budget, it’s highly likely Sony, which owns both Playstation and Columbia Pictures, the distributor, will produce a sequel. Hopefully, they’ll discover what made Spider-Man: No Way Home better than the previous ones and use that to make a better Uncharted 2.
What do you think? Please comment.