Tom Holland has proven a charming actor, capable of poignancy, humor, and super-heroic action. Stretching beyond his work as Spider-Man, he detoured into an adaptation of the Uncharted video game, coming off more as a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond than an original character, which is not at all his fault. He is an appealing performer and you want to root for him to succeed.
The PS3 game this is based on works fine as a video game and its sequels (or so I’m told, I don’t have time for video games) but the simplified storytelling conventions for a video game need to be expanded and evolved for filmed entertainment. Here, screenwriters Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway (working from a story by Judkins, Jon Hanley Rosenberg, and Mark D. Walker) let the fine cast and their audience down.
Bartender cum thief Nathan Drake (Holland) is recruited by Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to help locate a hidden treasure. A treasure that Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) thinks belongs to his family so you can see the conflict coming a mile away.
There are some lively set pieces that show Spider-Man prepared Holland for the stunt work and he sells the bits and pieces. Director Ruben Fleischer is just fine working with action as seen in his previous films, Zombieland and Gangster Squad but as seen with his two Venom films, doesn’t recognize storytelling weaknesses in the script, demanding better. He brings a visual flair without a tremendous amount of attention paid to characterization. As a result, the thrills are there but the emotional connection to the stakes and characters are absent.
Some credit for how effective the film is goes to producers Charles Roven, who made fine contributions to DC’s filmed heroes, and Avi Arad who got things rolling with 2000’s Spider-Man film.
This is a visually interesting film given all the locales, very much Bond-inspired. You can see why some are lobbying for him to be the next 007, although I suspect he’s too young and too pretty to fulfill Ian Fleming’s description.
Anyway, this is a passable evening’s entertainment and little more although it could have been.
Sony Home Entertainment has released this in the usual formats including the reliable Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo. The 1080 p transfer is just fine for home viewing, letting you see all the details, without annoying distractions. The
Uncharted Blu-ray, Audio Quality 4.5 of 5 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is up to the challenge, easily matching the visuals.
The film performed well enough at the box office although pre-Covid I suspect it would have been deemed a disappointing, coming as it did a mere two months after Spider-Man: No Way Home. Holland’s coat tails may not be long enough yet. This may explain why the special features are perfunctory.
We have Deleted & Extended Scenes (10:23); Never a Dull Moment: Stunts & Action (5:54); Becoming Nathan Drake (3:59); Audio Commentary: Director Ruben Fleischer; Villains, Backstabbers, & Accomplices (4:20); Charting the Course: On Set with Ruben Fleischer (4:28); The Buddy System (3:49); Big Action Breakdown: C-17 Globemaster (5:03): Music Video (1080p, 2:38): and the music video “No Mind” by Milkblood.