Uncharted Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About Tom Holland And Mark Wahlberg’s Video Game Movie

Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan in Uncharted.
(Image credit: Sony)

Anticipation has been growing for years to see “cool guy” Nathan Drake on the big screen and, now, the Uncharted premiere is just around the corner. Tom Holland plays Drake, and the mustached-Mark Wahlberg also stars in the Naughty Dog game adaptation as his mentor, Victor Sullivan. Critics have screened the movie ahead of its February 18 release, so let’s take a look at how successful they think this transition from video game to stunt-filled action flick.

The Uncharted movie serves as an origin story for the video game series — a necessity given Tom Holland’s age in relation to the character fans are used to seeing on their PlayStations. Nathan Drake is recruited by fortune hunter Sully to track down treasure amassed 500 years prior by Ferdinand Magellan. 

Let’s take a look at what the critics have to say about the adaptation, starting with our own CinemaBlend review. Sean O’Connell rates the film 3.5 stars out of 5, saying it’s a solid beginning for a new movie franchise. While Tom Holland is frankly too young to play Drake, he earns his keep in a role he can surely grow into:

When I got to the end of [director Ruben] Fleischer’s movie, I found I wanted to continue the narrative, and follow Nate (Holland) and Sully (Wahlberg) on their next quest. The two men might not be the most obvious choices for these recognizable characters, but accept that alteration and the fun of this video game adaptation will carry you through a worthy big-screen adventure.

Hoai-Tran Bui of SlashFilm, however, rates the movie 5 out of 10, saying that it relies too much on jokes and doesn’t offer anything new to the genre. In fact, this critic says its similarities to past features only calls greater attention to the film's flaws:

‘Uncharted’ has fun moments — there are spectacular set pieces involving ancient ships being towed through the sky, and the aforementioned cargo-hold fight — but its overreliance on unfunny quips and uninspired retreads of the action-adventure genre makes it another disappointing non-MCU outing for Holland, and another spiritless adaptation of a beloved video game. Unlike its title, ‘Uncharted’ finds no new territory for the treasure-hunting flick.

Owen Gleiberman of Variety says Uncharted is better than other video game movies, but qualifies that by pointing out the genre doesn’t have much to brag about. The game leant itself to a movie adaptation, yet the movie doesn’t add much depth in the translation:

‘Uncharted’ must have looked like a natural movie to make, because the game it’s based on is so ‘cinematic.’ But what that means, in practice, is that the game crossbreeds legendary movie tropes in an abstract way, and when they’re adapted back to the big screen the abstraction is still there. ‘Uncharted’ is a lively but thinly scripted and overlong mad-dash caper movie, propelled by actors you wish, after a while, had more interesting things to say and do.

Tanner Dedmon of Comicbook.com also gives the film an average rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars and notes that while it’s hard to see Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg as the established video game characters, Holland does grasp Nate’s humor and energy. The stars, however, are sometimes outshined by their supporting cast:

[Tom Holland] bounces off Mark Wahlberg well, but Wahlberg's even further from Sully than Holland is from Nate with precious little of the mentor character's personality surviving the jump to film. Sophia Ali as the established Chloe Frazer and Tati Gabrielle as newcomer Braddock, by comparison, dominated their roles and commanded most scenes they were in. Chloe's had her own adventures independent of Nate's in the games, and if the same happened with Ali as Chloe in a spinoff, there'd be no complaints.

While Jeffrey Vega of IGN, says Antonio Banderas and Tati Gabrielle are forgettable as the villains, but more because of our lack of time with them than anything. He also thinks the movie is a good way to bring new fans into the Uncharted universe who aren’t already fans of the video game:

Uncharted is a safe but serviceable sampling of a new globe-spanning adventure. As a young Nathan Drake, Tom Holland is fun to watch and has good chemistry with Mark Wahlberg’s Victor Sullivan, even if their antagonists are pretty forgettable and the story never thinks outside the treasure chest box. This should be effective in introducing the world of Uncharted to people who are meeting Nate and friends for the first time, although the changes it makes can be inexplicable and jarring to those of us who’ve spent many games with these characters.

Frank Scheck of THR says the flick definitely plays out like a video game movie, and although Tom Holland clearly buffed up for the role, he makes Nation Drake feel a lot like a “more larcenous Peter Parker.”

Resembling the love child of Tomb Raider, Raiders of the Lost Ark and National Treasure, Uncharted definitely feels like a video game adaptation, so rapidly segueing from one elaborate action set piece to another that your fingers may start twitching while watching it. Director Ruben Fleischer knows his way around this sort of material, having previously helmed such movies as Venom and Zombieland, and he understands that the target audience isn’t particularly interested in deep characterizations or sophisticated dialogue.

Reviews for Uncharted seem to stay at mid-level, but it sounds like critics enjoy the film’s stunts and humor. Audiences looking for pure action should like this movie, as long as they are willing to look past casting that doesn’t mirror the video games. The movie premieres in theaters Friday, February 18. Be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what else is coming soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.