Uncharted Review

Marky Mark must be desperate to recruit a new wave of the Funky Bunch as he traipses around Uncharted, attempting to appear presentable in a slate of future releases and past films that are questionable at best. Wahlberg has not had the greatest run of form, but nor has starring partner for this Ruben Fleischer-directed feature, Tom Holland. Outside of his meandering and acceptable application of Spider-Man, Holland has churned out dud after dud after dud. Uncharted is another dud, but one that is far beyond that of the horrifically timed Cherry or the entirely redundant Onward. That is progress for both Marky Mark and Holland, who try to champion the video game adaptation genre as best they can.

There is no point in doing so. Uwe Boll constructed, perfected and deconstructed the video game sub-genre long ago with a triple threat of The House of the Dead, Postal and Far Cry. Everybody else has to play catch-up. Whiffing the success of Sonic the Hedgehog and seeing that audiences are somewhat excited for another Indiana Jones film, the partnership between Wahlberg and Holland comes at an opportune time to capitalise on the adventure format and the video game series’ success. The end product is unexpectedly droll. With some inarguably charismatic leads in a big-budget blow-out, the action and variance of setting should explore the notion that adventure films still have a place near to the heart.

But Wahlberg and Holland, as lacklustre their performances are, cannot engage with the implication that adventure can be fun. Instead, Uncharted wants to show off a strange blend of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Jet-setting adventures with spy-thriller elements underlining it, with art gallery break-ins and exploration of old artefacts leading along an intrepid adventure. Fine enough if the spots are in the right places and built upon correctly, but Uncharted plays catch-up to a genre that left it in the dust decades before its inception. It does not help that the floor markings of a church are a poor man’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with camerawork shaky and often primitive at best. That is to be expected though of the blockbuster mentality, where a director’s job is to profile the heroes and villains, not show off with flourishes of style.

Fleischer is the right man for the job in that regard. He has directed several high-profile films and failed to leave any sort of mark with any of them. Zombieland and its sequel were serviceable, Venom a lacklustre comic book affair and now Uncharted joins the ranks of completely vague and disposable adventure. Far too many of the action-packed moments are all too brief, with the final moment of Fleischer’s feature showcasing an old ship, dramatic costume changes to lure in fans of the video game and a change of heart that cries out for the money isn’t anything mentality. “You can’t put a price on that” Holland exclaims. Yes, you can. $120 million. How it is possible to spend so much on something so vague is both fascinating and inevitable for the modern-day blockbuster.

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