Monday With Mildred: “Uncharted”


Goofy action films should be seen in a theater with a big screen and big sound and other people around to appreciate the goofiness with you. Too bad I saw this movie at home. It gave me too much time to think about what I was watching.

Based on a PlayStation game, Uncharted shows how the main characters meet and sets up their world of following puzzle leads around the world looking for a huge golden payoff. In this installment they’re looking for the lost treasure of Magellan, which make sense given the worldwide chase. Sully Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg, Instant Family) tracks down Nathan Drake (Tom Holland, Spider-Man) who’s pretending to be Tom Cruise in a fancy bar. Dangling the bait of reuniting the young man with his long-lost brother, Sully talks him into searching for the Magellan treasure. Much adventure and escaping from bad guys ensues.

There is some heavy cinematic borrowing beyond the drink slinging, most notably Raiders of the Lost Ark and National Treasure. At one point Nathan paraphrases Indiana Jones’ most famous lines. “Nuns. Why’s it always gotta be nuns?” and their travel is depicted with an old fashioned plane flying over a map. One film was a gigantic blockbuster, the other a regular schmoe kinda movie, but they have a lot in common. They both feature snappy dressing super historians who can mix it up in the action arena. Both travel the world looking for some ancient fabled MacGuffin that doesn’t seem to matter as much as the frenzied chase.

Those history lovers destroyed more antiquities than the Iraqi war, the British Museum and building construction projects put together.  Beginning with Barcelona these new guys make their own mark. Somehow, a city of nearly six million people that has been there since the era of chariots still has huge rooms full of untouched ancient artifacts just underground. No skyscraper construction or roadwork or plumbers unclogging pipes has touched any of these ancient puzzles in five hundred years. After this movie no one ever will again. And then we get to the last frenzied thirty minutes of the movie and all was lost. Too absurd and too drawn out, it strained my ability to take a joke.  Even two of my favorite action stars, Wahlburg and Holland – who do not have as much chemistry as the featurette would have you believe – couldn’t do it for me.

It wasn’t all terrible. Two of the non-heroes were women. One (Tati Gabrielle, The 100) is a purely evil mustache twirler and the other (Sophia Ali, Grey’s Anatomy) just misguided. I don’t think they had any discussions with each other, but both had some good action highlights. I really liked the running joke about the indecipherable Scottish henchman. That accent never fails with the humor.  There’s also a game in-joke that I only got after a quick google.

Ultimately, I didn’t care much for the film, and that’s too bad because I normally love even bad goofy action films. Sad to say, the climactic action set piece was so ridiculously over the top that it pushed me over the edge from irritated to dislike.  If you don’t mind the goofiness being way, way, way out there then you’ll probably enjoy this.


CFR: In Addition: Well huh. Haven’t played this game and haven’t seen the movie. I kinda thought it would be too silly for me. Thanks Mildred! I think I’ll skip this one.

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