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'Uncharted' Film Review: 'National Treasure' Meets Fast & Furious

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'Uncharted' Film Review: 'National Treasure' Meets Fast & Furious

Uncharted is the latest attempt at bringing a video game franchise to Hollywood. It features an all-star cast of A-listers, and even has the blessing of the legendary Nolan North, who voices protagonist Nathan Drake in PlayStation's series of games. Now, it’s no myth that films adapted from video games can be very hit and miss, and after the announcement that Tom Holland would be playing a younger Nathan Drake in this adaptation, there was an immediate online reaction that this would be another for the ever-growing 'miss' pile.

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Watch the latest trailer for Uncharted, below

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While it’s safe to say that Tom Holland's popularity has soared since he took on the role of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were still a lot of reservations about him playing Nathan Drake. But if you completely detach his portrayal of Drake in this film from what you know about the character in the games, basically forgetting who the previous Nathan Drake was, then Tom’s performance is really quite an enjoyable watch. Better yet, if you’ve never played the games at all, you’ll more than likely be delighted with his debut as the legendary treasure hunter.

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That’s actually the best piece of advice I can give you when going to watch this film: you need to completely separate yourself from the games, otherwise you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. That’s not to say that the film is bad at all - I found myself enjoying it for what it is, which is just a dumb and goofy treasure-hunting film. This is less Indiana Jones and more National Treasure, which is one of my guilty pleasures. So suffice to say, I enjoyed this little adventure with Holland and Mark Wahlberg alongside him as Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan.

The film tells the origin story of Drake and his treasure-seeking future, as he's accompanied by his mentor figure of Sully. There's a lot of warm banter between the two leads and, as you'd expect in any relics-hunting escapade, there's a plethora of puzzles along the way. Nothing mind-blowing, granted, but perhaps that’s me slowly sinking back into the video game mindset. The duo meets Aussie explorer Chloe Frazer, played by Sophia Ali, who is also after the same quarry: lost gold from the voyages of Magellan. Once their paths cross, all kinds of wild adventures spin out across the remainder of the movie.

Uncharted / Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing
Uncharted / Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing
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Naturally, where there are heroes, we also have villains, and Uncharted gives us a nefarious duo to play against the pairing of Drake and Sully. Moncada is played by the legendary Antonio Banderas and the incredible Tati Gabrielle fills the role of Braddock. While Banderas’ villain is absolutely sinister and ruthless, it’s Tati’s character who stands out from the two. Braddock is a gentle yet terrifying mercenary who you simultaneously do and really, really don’t want to meet in real life. Although we actually did get to meet her, and Sophia Ali, and you can check out that interview in the video below.

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The dangers along the way for Nate and Sully can be intense at times, with that intensity ramped even higher when it comes to the stunts. I was genuinely concerned for every single actor in this film - especially Tom, the poor lad, who seems to have been put through some punishing situations to bring us such scintillating on-screen action. It's hard to watch in a way, as you can really feel the weighty blow of each impact, but it's also hard to stop watching it. The stunt team should be congratulated, and the cast too, for making the stunning set-pieces of the video games come alive on the big screen, using actual people instead of virtual avatars.

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Uncharted / Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing
Uncharted / Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

The movie hits its peak in the final act, which - no spoilers - is just so much fun to watch unfold. Here, Uncharted takes some cues from the Fast & Furious series with the most fantastically absurd action sequence, which really does look like something you’d see in an Uncharted game - indeed, before now, it's something you'd only see in an Uncharted game. The final act alone is reason enough for me to go and watch the film again, as it was just ridiculous, and I’m absolutely here for it.

Will fans of the video game series enjoy Uncharted? If they're really into the interactive adventures of Drake and his allies, possibly not. This isn't a straight retelling of what you've already played, and takes some liberties with the source material which super-fans may dislike. But as a standalone experience, enjoyed completely detached from the games, it's funny, action-packed, and full of surprises. It's just a good-time movie, guaranteed to make most who see it smile, and I look forward to seeing where a possible sequel takes these characters, as the bar for amazing, escapist entertainment has now been set pretty high.

Featured Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Topics: Uncharted, TV And Film, Sony, PlayStation

Dean Abdou
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