The modern Indiana Jones clone Uncharted is a rollicking, fun-filled adventure.
Nathan Drake was brought up in an orphanage with his older brother Sam, who was constantly getting into trouble. When Nathan was little, Sam took off but promised to stay in touch. He does that through the occasional postcard from an exotic place. Sam was obsessed with finding the gold that he maintains was sequestered by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan during his ill-fated 16th century expedition. The loot is said to be worth billions now.
Fifteen years later, Nathan (Tom Holland) is a bartender and petty thief with an encyclopedic knowledge of Magellan. Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) – who claims he knows Sam – asks Nathan to join him on a treasure hunt for the gold. They keys are two gold altar crucifixes. One is up for auction, and Sully and Nathan plot a way to steal it. But they aren’t the only ones after the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So is the ruthless and wealthy Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who has hired the mercenary Jo (Tati Gabrielle) to do his dirty work.
Jo has crossed swords with Sully before and each is aware of the other’s skill set. They’re also deeply suspicious of one another. Holding the second crucifix is another treasure hunter named Chloe (Sophia Ali), who reluctantly partners with Sully and Nathan. High octane adventure follows, during which hijinks and double crosses abound.
Uncharted may be totally far-fetched (it’s based on a video game), but it has a good feel about it. Director Ruben Fleischer (Venom) injects a cheeky cheeriness. Not surprisingly, the path to the treasure is laden with missteps. Hey, getting your hands on billions of dollars worth of gold shouldn’t be easy, should it?
Holland and Wahlberg make a formidable and pleasantly cheesy duo (there’s a smattering of the dynamic between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon about them). Likewise, the duelling women leave their mark. Jo’s hair and costuming yells “look at me”, as does her tenacity. Gabrielle ensures she is a force to be reckoned with. Ali paints Chloe as every bit as slick and slippery as the boys. Steven Waddington makes sure he doesn’t go unnoticed, as the all but incomprehensible Scotsman who enjoys dishing out punishment.
Visually, Uncharted presents a surfeit of riches. It’s colourful and moves at pace. Humour underpins the action. Stay for the credits because they include pointers to the inevitable sequel.
Uncharted is hardly deep, but as mass market entertainment, it’s more than serviceable.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.