Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Ruben Fleischer

QuickView: Uncharted (2022)

“Lost, not gone. There’s a difference. If something’s lost, it can be found.”

Sam Drake

The first feature from PlayStation Productions was the obvious choice and yet also perhaps the most misguided — Naughty Dog’s Uncharted videogame franchise was designed as a cinematic experience, drawing inspiration from the likes of Indiana Jones, but this also means there is little more for a live action production to offer. Practical effects might have provided more grounded, visceral action; instead the action is so obviously green-screened — with videogamey CGI (particularly in aerial sequences) and conspicuous cutting around stunt performers — that the non-interactive experience offers no discernible benefit. Time has also diminished the film’s relevance, as Drake’s videogame journey concluded six years ago. In fact, Uncharted was stuck in pre-production for so long that Mark Wahlberg aged out of consideration for Nathan Drake and into the role of his mentor. Casting a further shadow is how perfect Nathan Fillion would have been for the role of Drake (as demonstrated in a wonderful little fan film — over the intervening four years it became a running joke that I would bring it up as the “real” Uncharted film). Tom Holland provides the requisite charm but not quite enough swagger, and his young Drake feels ill-formed as a character, whilst the rest of the cast is a rogue’s gallery of predictable and shallow caricatures. The story of hunting for the lost gold of Magellan is serviceable with a few moments of intrigue, like Drake learning to test his companion’s trustworthiness, but there is no soul to this adventure. Perhaps it is only lost; I fear it is gone.


QuickView: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Zombieland - Double Tap poster

“Welcome to Zombieland. Back for seconds? After all this time? Well, what can I say, but thank you. You have a lot of choices when it comes to zombie entertainment, and we appreciate you picking us.”


Zombieland was an unexpected gem, a cynical and yet strangely joyous take on the apocalypse. Although fans clamoured for a sequel, the rising stars of Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone meant that it took a full decade to arrive and in many ways that is Double Tap‘s biggest problem in a saturated genre, even as Columbus addresses it in his introductory voice over. The chief culprit is the script which, although it contains a few laugh-out-loud moments, is largely a retread of the original’s road trip formula. The handful of new characters we meet are one-note caricatures rather than rounded individuals with the emotional depth that elevated Zombieland. Similarly, the high energy of a mid-credits flashback sequence serves only to highlight how muted Double Tap often feels. The result: a frequently entertaining but decidedly shallow sequel that offers no reason to rewatch it rather than its predecessor.


QuickView: 30 Minutes or Less (2011)

30 Minutes or Less quad poster

“I don’t know what to do, man. All these sites have different shit. There’s not a lot of consensus in the bomb disarming community!”


Ruben Fleischer’s feature-length follow-up to the excellent Zombieland is neither as fresh nor as successful, though much of the blame lies with a “comedy” script in which I can barely identify a single actual joke. With a hapless pizza delivery driver forced to rob a bank when two incompetent criminals strap a bomb to his chest, 30 Minutes or Less has the sensibilities of a slacker/stoner movie, where a functionally coherent plot is generally considered sufficient. Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari commit to their roles but their talents are largely wasted here. Thankfully, the film is only one and a half hours long; preferably it would have been 30 minutes or less.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

Up ↑