“Uncharted,” you say? That’s a funny title for an action-adventure movie that doesn’t stray one inch from the well-tread path of what came before it.
“Indiana Jones,” “National Treasure” and “The Mummy,” just to name a few, are all dead ringers for this poorly written buddy quest film — and leagues better, too. I suggest a different name for the latest entry in the genre: “Derivative!”
Running time: 116 minutes. Rated PG-13 (violence/action and language.) In theaters.
Tom Holland plays Nathan Drake, a flirty bartender/pickpocket in Manhattan who lives in an apartment with a floor-to-ceiling window wall overlooking the city (I’m guessing making gin and tonics didn’t pay for that view). One night during a bar shift, a treasure hunter named Sully (Mark Wahlberg in meathead mode) asks Nathan to help him search for the lost gold of Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
“I’m offering you your ticket out of here,” he says. “A chance to see places you’ve only read about in books.”
(If Nathan can afford a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, I don’t think a $400 round trip ticket to Barcelona — the next place the pair goes — is that fantastical an expenditure.)
Sully, it turns out, is a friend of Nathan’s lost older brother, who abandoned him at an orphanage years earlier to explore the world. So, if they find the loot, chances are they find the big bro.
The actors adopt a tired partner dynamic: Wahlberg’s Sully is slow, masculine and doesn’t know how to use a cellphone; Holland’s Nathan can do parkour and knows more about history than a tenured university professor. Siri could write this.
They then steal a vital golden cross at a Soho auction house and jet off to Spain (a place you’ve only read about in books!) to follow ancient clues engraved on church walls, “Da Vinci Code” style.
The villain is Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), the heir to a Medici-like Spanish family, who wants the gold too. He hires Braddock (Tati Gabrielle) a bland and vague femme fatale, to get to the doubloons first.
Nathan and Sully are joined by Chloe (Sophia Ali, wonderful in “India Sweet and Spices”), who’s angry all the time. The umpteenth occasion in which one of the three double-crosses the other two, you check your watch.
The script by Rafe Judkins, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway — based on the video game — knows it’s borrowing generously from what came before it. Inside one cathedral, Nathan yells, “Nuns! Why does it always have to be nuns?!,” sending up Indiana Jones’ famous line about snakes. The cute nods would be fine if the movie matched its predecessors’ energy and escapism.
“Uncharted” is part of the valiant effort to make a bona fide star out of Tom Holland separate from his extremely popular “Spider-Man” movies. The British kid’s been everywhere and nowhere lately. From 2020 to 2021, he starred in “The Devil All The Time,” “Chaos Walking” and “Cherry.” The projects were bland, his talent stood out and nobody watched them. “Uncharted” will likely follow suit.