Movies like “Uncharted” and “Red Notice” ask the question: is Hollywood burned out on treasure hunting. Long gone are the days of “Indiana Jones”, heck I’d even take the madcap reasoning of “National Treasure”. These new movies have no spirit- they’re cut and paste jobs from filmmakers looking to make content, not movies.
The film stars Tom Holland as a former orphan turned New York bartender/pickpocket Nathan Drake, who dreamed, along with his brother, of finding the lost treasure of Magellan when they were kids. The brother left early and met up with another explorer named Sully (Mark Wahlberg), who returns, looking for Nathan to help find that same treasure.
Tackled by three screenwriters and based on a video game, the screenplay takes us through the usual things of opulent locations, globe-hopping, finding objects needed to find the treasure (in this case keys), reading maps, dealing with gorgeous but double-crossing female counterparts who know martial arts, and a villain (Antonio Banderas) who barks orders at his minions but otherwise doesn’t do much.
It should all be in service of a non-stop thriller but all “Zombieland” director Ruben Fleischer can come up with is two scenes- a fantastic looking aerial fall out of a cargo plane and an absurdly fun duel between two pirate ships strung up in the air by helicopters.
Maybe that appeared like enough from the outset but they only serve to wake us up from an otherwise zombified movie- we sit through the set-up only for the pay-offs to be generic fist fights and foot chases. Would it have killed anyone to put in some elaborate traps or daring escapes? Other than two scenes of going big, the movie mostly thinks small.
Holland is a fine actor, still going through a phase of getting typecast as boyishly naive teenagers. Only here he’s supposedly playing 25. He’s the brains, Wahlberg is the muscle, but the chemistry never materializes. Holland is doing his same Peter Parker “you’re old” shtick, and Wahlberg, again, seems too laid back to even care.
And when was the last American movie that Antonio Banderas was required to do any acting in? He looks bored, while his main hench-person, played by Tati Gabrielle, is about as one-dimensional a femme fatale as it gets. Sophia Ali is also on hand here as Chloe, who the filmmakers have zero idea what to do with.
One could guess someone wanted to fashion this as a “Mission Impossible” of treasure hunting kind of thing, but the verve is really missing here. It never really revs up the excitement and the few times it does seem enthusiastic feel like wake-up calls. Maybe video game fans are still willing to settle for less and this becomes a hit. Either way, it’s not that good a movie.
2.5 out of 5