If you’re wondering what a Tomb Raider movie would look like if it starred Peter Parker, here’s your answer: oddly familiar!
UNEXPLORED (Ruben Fleischer). 116 minutes. A few subtitles. In theaters Friday (February 18). Rating: NNN
Uncharted is an adaptation of the PlayStation relic-hunting video game series in which hardy adventurer Nathan Drake and an ever-growing group of friends, enemies, and ambiguous associates travel the world in search of hidden fortunes. The movie stars launch into elaborate green-screen action sequences left and right. But the one mystery the movie never solves is: why are we watching this, exactly?
In all honesty, if you’ve ever wondered what a Tomb Raider movie would look like if it starred Peter Parker instead of Lara Croft, here’s that image. Tom Holland – Marvel’s current web-slinger – plays young Nathan, a petty hustler traveling the world in search of billions in Spanish gold while trying to figure out if he can trust his fellow hunters. fortunes Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) and Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) will have their backs on the bad guys (Antonio Banderas, Tati Gabrielle) when the time comes.
Allegiances are exchanged, traps are set, puzzles are solved, priceless artifacts are waved around like conversation pieces. There’s an awesome IMAX-scale climax, as these things demand. Uncharted ticks all the boxes, but there’s no spark of life; it’s just another generic action picture with no ambition beyond launching another franchise.
Ruben Fleischer, who’s done everything from the Zombieland movies to Venom, keeps everything moving fast enough that fans don’t care how thin the story is or that it doesn’t demand anything from its cast – to the point where Holland gives the exact same talkative-smart performance he gives in the Marvel movies, just in a wet Henley instead of a Spidey suit. (Wahlberg, somehow, does even less.)
Still, players at my preview screening were very happy to see their favorite characters come to life exactly as they expected, so maybe that’s all there was to it. I just wish Uncharted had something to offer us.