• by Wes Singleton

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, C-

Rated PG-13, 137 minutes

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" is a sluggish ride and often all over the map, feeling like "The Walking Dead" meets the high seas. When the original, playful "Pirates of the Caribbean" hit it big in 2003, each installment that came after it become a bigger, bloated vessel under the eye of Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Though it has a few nice touches and visuals, this overdone series hopefully will come to an end after "Dead Men Tell No Tales," as I would rather walk the plank than sit through another one of these.

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil, undead Capt. Salazar (Oscar-winner Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle. Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.

"Dead Men Tell No Tales" is co-directed by Norwegian filmmaking team of Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (of the excellent "Kon-Tiki") produced by Bruckheimer and written by Jeff Nathanson ("Tower Heist") is another overlong tale that doesn't make much sense, again bringing back Depp's Sparrow, in usual Keith Richards-like swagger that was fun the first time, and mostly annoying since. He manages to get out of some ludicrous situations, yet those over-the-top action set pieces keep the film afloat, given that its narrative, unsurprisingly, is a big mess. Depp swaggers a bit, fire a cannon, Depp swaggers more, toss someone in the sea, pretty cut-and-dry pirate stuff.

Bardem's Salazar is one of the film's better touches, an inspired zombie-like villain that's overtaken by some unusual visuals that were obviously added in post-production (most of its visuals, including those zombie sharks in one scene, seem this way, and the sets brim of sound-stage fakiness); this also adds a new and bland young couple, Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario, though they seem lost in the usual "Pirates" fanfare. Geoffrey Rush's Captain Hector is back too, yet he's really an unnecessary figure here; original "Pirates" stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom are seen briefly at the end, and if you're really playing close attention, there's a Paul McCartney cameo in the first act, as no surprise here, another of Sparrow's relatives.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" shows off what Hollywood does best: run a story in the ground for an extra buck or two. Sure, some of it's entertaining and it'll make money no doubt, but is it great? Not really. Forgettable at best, the pirate's life is definitely not for me, I'm content to stay on dry land.

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