It is arguably one of the best franchises of video games in modern times; praised everywhere by gamers not only because it practically re-invented a genre but it delivered that crucial, jade-encrusted triumverate of script, plot and gameplay. In fact make that a quadumverate, because they are bloody beautiful games too. There are five, i believe, of which i’ve played the three PS3 originals.

However, lets imagine you don’t know what Uncharted is and you’re going to see this film because its got a fair cast, and the trailer promises action, puns, one-liners and explosions. And Tom Holland, who is big in cinema at the moment for reasons Stan Lee.

Nathan Drake is a thief, and his thievery is spotted by older theif Sully, who is on the trail of Magellan’s Gold – it turns out the explorer didn’t make it round the world, and wherever his quest ended there is a massive pile of loot. A pile he wants his hands on. (Drake also wants it, but his quest is more of a family thing).

So Sully enlists the help of young Drake (and co-thief / love interest Chloe) and they go off to find the sparkly gold treasure, hopefully before nasty man Moncada (apparent heir to the riches) gets his dubiously legal claws into it.

That was a fair synopsis, i guess. With a mixture of action stolen from Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones and with CGI stunts and nonsence, this promises a silly passing of the time. And it delivers on this. BUT. Its nothing special. And it feels like it should be.

Mark Wahlberg brings nothing to the role. He is bland and without charm – one might think he is pissed that the lead went to a younger actor and he is relegated now to second fiddle. Antonio Banderas is even worse, giving nothing to his villain – not even super camp nastiness – thats all it would have taken.

Thankfully, Tom Holland delivers a solid, watchable performance, proving he is worth keeping an eye on outside of his Spidery-alter ego. We are sure now that Chaos Walking was just a blip.

The use of CGI just reminds us that action films are 100 fold better when stunts look and feel real. I mean, yeah, it wouldn’t have been EASY to do the action scene with all the crates hanging out the back of the plane but…its not impossible. Bond film “The Living Daylights” managed something similar in the late 80s, for example.

My second major gripe is the “laddy bantz”; the constant need to be swapping puns and take-downs and one-liners when…well they’d only known each other for a few hours. The fluency in the script would be perfect if they’d known each other for a few years maybe – but this old guy just recruited this young guy a few hours ago.

Anyway. Thats where my ‘unbiased’ review has to end; this is a standard adventure film with some watchability, but ultimately nothing special. I have forgiven it a lot of faults since my first watch as i just learned it was always intended as a soft-prequel to the games. Its still lacking that core heart of loyalty and pride that similar daft-action-hero films like National Treasures 1 + 2, and Sahara have in droves, and thats what makes them infinitely superior.

That said, i absolutely goosebumped when the Uncharted theme kicked in. The film may not have blown my mind, but i’m off to play through the games again.

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