Uncharted – Movie Review

I’ve been a fan of the Uncharted video games since the day they were released 15 years ago. The graphics have always been cutting edge, the gameplay exciting, and the story and characters unforgettable. Truly a masterpiece and one of the greatest series in video game history.

Almost inevitably, a movie based on the games was announced, but that was many years ago. Constant delays pushed it back, killing excitement and changing casting roles. Plus movies that are based on video games rarely go over well. So when the movie finally came out earlier this year, I was hesitant to see it. I decided to wait until I could stream it.

Now it’s available on Netflix, so I watched it. A few spoilers follow, so my quick, non-spoiler review is that it’s an exciting movie with some poor casting choices that dragged it down. I’d say that people who have never played the games or did not play them much will be the biggest fans of the movie.

Now for those spoilers!

First I’ll say that I really appreciated the airplane scene. This was ripped directly from Uncharted 3 and it was done well, and since it was the first scene of the movie I thought it served as an ice breaker for fans of the game. Like it was meant to tell us “You remember doing this, right? Of course you do! Wasn’t that so much fun? Get ready for even more!”

I thought the overall hunt and the treasure being sought was also well done, and very much in line with what we’ve come to expect from Uncharted.

And the casting of Tom Holland as Nate Drake was excellent. He played the role well, staying faithful to the digital Nate Drake while also lending it his personal flavor. And Antonio Banderas playing the villainous Santiago Moncada and Sophia Ali as Chloe Frazier were both solid choices. I really enjoyed these characters!

Unfortunately, what really dragged the movie down for me was the casting of Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan. For one thing, while the other main characters looked pretty true to their video game counterparts, Mark Wahlberg is not even close!

A young Victor Sullivan from Uncharted 3
Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan

The first, and biggest, problem with this portrayal? Where’s the mustache? Seriously, Sully’s mustache and cigar are foundational elements of his character! Beyond that, Wahlberg looks way too young to be playing Sully. In Uncharted 3, the only time we get a look at a younger Sully, he’s already at least 40 years old when Nate is a teenager. Fast forward several years to when Nate is an adult and Sully should not be looking like he could be Nate’s brother, which is how he looks in the movie. Kudos to Mark Wahlberg for looking younger than he is, but that’s a detriment in this role.

Second, I mentioned that Holland and Ali did a great job staying true to the video game characters. Unfortunately, Wahlberg didn’t even come close to mimicking Sully. He’s a great actor, don’t get me wrong, but Mark Wahlberg can play one character and one character only: sexy Marky Mark. That’s who he is, and that’s roughly how all his characters in movies are portrayed, no matter the genre. He plays as himself.

That’s not Sully. Sully has gravitas, suave, a certain je ne sais quoi about him in the video games. None of that is present in the movie. He’s just a buff, wise-cracking doofus riding Nate’s coattails.

Personally, I would have cast Christian Bale as Sully. He’s known as something of a ‘method actor’ and I think he would have absolutely nailed this role, plus he would have grown a damn mustache!

The other thing that pulled me out of the story (extra big spoiler alert here) is when they killed Moncada about halfway through the movie. Banderas was playing a masterful villain, and I was really looking forward to the ultimate showdown between Moncada and Drake. Frankly, he was the only interesting villain in the movie. But he was killed off and replaced by an antagonist that is far less interesting and that just made it feel like the movie slammed on the brakes.

These two things taken together made me stop watching the movie. As a big Uncharted fan, it didn’t feel like an Uncharted movie. It had Nate, sure. But who was this guy they kept calling Sully? That’s not Victor Sullivan. And the coolest bad guy in the film dying halfway through? Nope. No thank you. I appreciate the effort and it was really well done for the most part, but I couldn’t finish it.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Uncharted – Movie Review

    • I think you’d like it! I would have loved it if the poor casting of Sully didn’t ruin it for me, so without any attachment to the characters from the games I think you’ll appreciate it more than I did.

      Yeah, Bale sounds like he’s a weird guy in real life, but you can’t deny he’s an incredible actor. I wonder if there was a contractual obligation to cast Wahlberg somewhere because he was originally slated to be Nate Drake, but then production was delayed for 10 years lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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