3 out of 5 stars
As Spider-man: No Way Home crawls into the history books as one of the biggest films of all time, Tom Holland’s worldwide appeal as an action star continues to rise. This should make any other releases where the actor is headlining a marketer's dream, especially as he is paired with Mark Wahlberg. As Gen-X's quintessential movie partner, this pair looks to be a winning combination for this historically quiet time of the year at cinemas. The main challenge for this winning combination of talent is that this film project is based on a Playstation game and these cinematic adaptations have a horrific track record. Can the Holland/Wahlberg mix reverse this trend?
Nathan Drake (Holland) was raised in a family of treasure hunters until his parents passed away. He and his brother Sam eventually reside at an orphanage, until his older sibling is expelled and leaves Nathan alone. He goes on to live a solitary life that involves bartending and periodically stealing from the rich. The only connection to his estranged brother is a series of postcards that have mysteriously arrived at his flat over the years. As he makes his way in life, Sam is eventually introduced to Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Wahlberg). This fortune-hunter has a proposal that would be mutually beneficial for both men and may allow the young pick-pocket to reconnect with his brother again. The trick is that the pair must steal a golden cross at an exclusive auction house. This bejewelled trinket unlocks the secrets to the treasure hidden by Magellan’s crew that had circumnavigated the earth.
As they attempt to escape with this artefact, their actions put them in the crosshairs of Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas). He is the wealthy financier whose family had funded the original expedition of the famed explorer. The billionaire works with Jo Braddock (Tati Gabrielle), who leads a team of mercenaries who have their own plans for the gold. Then they must try to apprehend Nathan and Sully to regain possession of the cross. At the same time, the pair must stay two steps ahead of their competitors if they want to keep the treasure for themselves. This unassuming partnership eventually leads them to work with Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali). She is a former colleague of Sully’s who has information about Nathan’s brother and holds the other key to the treasure.
What is hard to determine from the beginning is if this will be more National Treasure or Raiders of the Lost Ark, especially with Ruben Fleischer (Venom) in the director’s chair. Despite paying homage to the treasure hunting adventures of the past, this video-game adaptation leans into the action side of the expedition. While relying heavily on the chemistry between the lead actors instead of adding in a romantic element. There are some possibilities for romance within the team, but this adventure is all about the stunts. Holland provides the physically demanding aspects while Walberg delivers the verbal barrage of deprecating banter expected from this type of on-screen relationship. Even though their chemistry takes some time to develop, they eventually offer a convincing brother-like connection that complements the fantastical elements.
Fair warning to all who choose to see this film, Uncharted is loaded with over-the-top stunts, unbelievable access to historical sites and more than its share of twists and turns. Reminiscent of the swashbuckling adventures of yesteryear that even includes a battle between Spanish galleons. Fleischer seems to be winking at the audience as he says, ‘Can you believe I just got away with that?’ This project capitalises on the skills of its lead actors and has some fun along the way. Not one to be seen at awards time, but a story that will provide the popcorn excursion that everyone is looking for at this time in history.
Reel Dialogue: Where is your treasure and your heart?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,” - Matthew 6:19
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” - Matthew 6:21
Ah, the adventure to find buried treasure. Those stories have been at the heart of books and movies throughout the centuries. We dream of the day when we might stumble upon a map or the clue to a lost stash of unspeakable riches that will satisfy our deepest dreams. Yet, throughout most of these stories, the people who find this secret pot of gold either die in the process or discover that the prize is more curse than blessing.
Not that finding an undiscovered fortune is bad, but would it really provide you with the happiness you seek? Jesus talked of this nugget of truth that has plagued mankind throughout history. He spoke of ‘true’ treasure, which cannot be stolen or will not eventually turn into dust. This treasure has eternal value and is one that you do not need to carry on your back. The treasure that Jesus spoke of is the only one worth searching for in the end. Why not take the time to unearth the truths of the prize that he shared by reading the book of Matthew today.