Review: ‘Uncharted’ adventure awaits moviegoers

“Uncharted” pairs Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg in the feature film adaption of the video game series of the same name. The duo in the new release play a pickpocket and a treasure hunter, respectively.

"Uncharted" movie poster
"Uncharted" is a new release playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and the Sunset Cinema in Jenkins. Tom Holland and Mark co-star in the action-adventure movie based on the video game of the same name.
Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — “Uncharted” the feature film takes fans of the video game of the same name around the world without leaving their movie theater seats.

The new release stars Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg as a thief and a deceitful treasure hunter, respectively, who must find a way to work together to find Ferdinand Magellan’s gold.

The real-life Portuguese-born explorer and his crew supposedly hid treasure worth an estimated $5 billion in today’s dollars. Magellan is best known for having planned and led the 1519 Spanish expedition to the East Indies across the Pacific Ocean to open a maritime trade route.

pile of gold
A pile of gold gleams in the light.
Contributed / Zlaťá via

Holland plays Nathan Drake, a descendant of the real-life Sir Francis Drake, an English explorer best known for his circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580.

With adventure in his blood, Holland and his on-screen, older brother Sam break into a museum as children in a failed attempt to steal an old map that may hold clues to the hidden treasure.


The older Drake gets kicked out of the orphanage the brothers are in for his latest transgression but rather than go to jail, he goes on the run and promises Holland to reunite with him later.

Years pass and flash-forward to Holland working as a bartender at an upscale bar who also pickpockets from easy and affluent customers when he encounters Wahlberg one day.

Wahlberg plays Victor "Sully" Sullivan, an unfamiliar treasure hunter who supposedly worked with Holland’s brother, who has all but seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth.

Drake is initially suspicious and doubtful of Sullivan’s claim but succumbs to the allure of finding his long-lost brother and reluctantly agrees to team up with Sullivan despite his better judgment.

People have been searching for it all in vain.
— Santiago Moncada

The treasure-seekers are not the only ones after the fortune in undiscovered gold. Antonio Banderas plays Santiago Moncada, the last descendant of the Moncada family who supposedly funded Magellan's expedition but did not reap the rewards of claiming the gold for itself.

Moncada is ruthlessly charming and misguided as the billionaire heir who seeks even more power and riches by finding the treasure before Drake and Sullivan learn of its location.

“Five hundred years ago, my family found the world’s biggest fortune and then was betrayed,” Santiago Moncada says. “People have been searching for it all in vain.”

A journal lies on top of a map surrounded by a camera, a pair of eyeglasses, photographs and a magnifying glass.
A journal lies on top of a map surrounded by a camera, a pair of eyeglasses, photographs and a magnifying glass.
Contributed / Dariusz Sankowski via

Moncada employs a variety of henchmen led by a fresh-faced and surprisingly effective Tati Gabrielle in the role Jo Braddock, a mercenary who may have been romantic with Sullivan.


Rounding out the principals in the cast is Sophia Ali as Chloe Frazer, yet another fortune hunter and potential love interest for Drake who warns him of Sullivan’s untrustworthiness many times.

“Uncharted” may be a new release, but it feels old-fashioned with inevitable comparisons to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Indiana Jones” franchise with all the swash-buckling action.

Holland — fresh from his blockbuster success “Spider-Man: No Way Home” still playing in movie theaters — displays more of his athleticism in the globe-trotting adventure.

Wahlberg doesn’t so much “act” in his film roles but alternately menaces, wise-cracks and throws a punch now and then but the veteran actor paired with the rising star is a nice yin yang.

The two-hour motion picture is rated PG-13 for its over-the-top and arguably cartoonish action pieces and violence, such as flying ships, cars dropping out of a cargo plane and more.

Moviegoers should stick around after the end credits begin to roll because, like most of today’s movies, “Uncharted” includes two post-credits scenes that all but scream sequel or franchise.

“Uncharted” currently holds a 40% approval rating among critics and far superior 90% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.

The audience consensus reads in part: “‘With plenty of action and a terrific cast, ‘Uncharted’ is a solid adaptation of the games -- and a fun throwback to classic adventure movies of the past.”


FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at

Frank Lee
Frank Lee

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write features stories for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. The weekly newspaper is owned by Forum Communications Co.
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