Uninspired action-adventure movies belong in a museum
Directed by Ruben Fleischer of “Zombieland” fame and written by Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, “Uncharted” drags on like a reanimated wrapper of the best action-adventure films before it, filled not with a soul but of jokes and funny to compensate for the fact that we have already seen all this. Like the “Tomb Raider” movies before it, and like all treasure-hunting action movies this side of “Indiana Jones,” “Uncharted” is pretty par for the course for an action-adventure movie. There’s a brave protagonist who is exceptionally adept at puzzles and parkour, there’s a long-buried treasure around which centuries of myths have sprung up, and there’s a globe-trotting quest in which the protagonist and his party grizzled/hot of adventurers must embark, encountering all sorts of mustachioed villains and their henchmen along the way. And while there’s nothing wrong with retreading this genre, “Uncharted” offers nothing new. Rather, its similarities to other films only draw more attention to its flaws.
Far from the great heights of the classic “Indiana Jones” films, “Uncharted” is closer to “National Treasure” without Nicolas Cage’s crackpot energy, mixed with “The Goonies” without the boyish irreverence of Amblin. It’s bright, witty, and franchise-ready. Which would be nice if the jokes were good!
And those jokes have been part of the fabric of the movie from the start, when the movie opens in the media, as Holland’s Nathan Drake wakes up mid-air, his foot entangled in the ropes holding a cargo container falling from the back of a plane. A henchman climbs up to him and they fight, Nathan eventually kicking the man in the chest and sending him flying, responding with an “Oh my god, I’m so sorry, that was purely reactive !” Holland is used to this kind of innocent banter – he played Peter Parker for 6 years, after all. But the script struggles to match Holland’s level, giving us unfunny jokes about Nathan Drake looking too young to run the bar (which he ishe is a child), and how veteran Mark Wahlberg fortune hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan has too many apps open on his phone.
As someone unfamiliar with the games ‘Uncharted’ is based on, I’m told the games are funny enough already, but they have to be better than the hollow jokes we get with the ‘Uncharted’ movie. If you want to make your movie 90% jokes, make them at least good. Only so far can Holland’s aw-shucks awesomeness carry a movie.