Review Date: 3/6/22
Cast: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, cameo by Nolan North
Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is a scrappy young man who works as a bartender and moonlights as a pickpocket and thief. One day he is approached by a treasure hunter named Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to assist him on a heist. He initially turns down the job, but changes his mind when he learns that Sully might have some connection to his long-lost brother Sam. After stealing a priceless artifact and invoking the wrath of a ruthless competitor (Antonio Banderas), Nate and Sully team up with Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali) to track down Magellan's fabled lost gold.
As a video game adaptation, it's terrible and fails to capture any of the game's action, characters, wit, or appeal. But if you can disregard the source material and take the film on its own terms, it can be deliriously entertaining. Much like the game, it draws inspiration from both "Tomb Raider" and Indiana Jones, and it's considerably better than any of the "Tomb Raider" films and the last two Indiana Jones movies. Despite being completely illogical and downright stupid, the physics-defying and CGI-laden action scenes are exciting and gleefully enjoyable. This is not a film that's based in any sort of reality, and you need to check your brain at the door.
Both Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg are woefully miscast, but they have a surprising amount of chemistry and the film is built around their non-stop bickering and sarcastic banter. Some of the writing is quite clever, and I found it odd that the most endearing aspect of the film was listening to the two of them hurl insults at each other. Sophia Ali does an adequate job as Chloe Frazer, but she doesn't have much to work with and she doesn't evoke any sort of connection to the original game character. Tati Gabrielle does a fine job as the ruthless Braddock and makes a nice adversary for all of the other characters. The film gets off to a rough start with a lengthy and completely unnecessary flashback, but once Sully shows up, the pacing improves dramatically. I went in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. It's a wasted opportunity to bring Naughty Dog's classic game series to life and fans will likely hate it, but as a mindless piece of action/adventure fluff, it's not a bad way to spend an evening.