Bizarrely retitled in the UK from its far cannier moniker Dead Men Tell No Tales, Salazar’s Revenge, the fifth instalment in the rumbustious Disney franchise, (but first to be shot on Australian soil) proves there is some life left in the old seafaring series.
It all kicks off with a prologue featuring the familiar (if mangled) face from adventures past Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who’s raised from the sea by estranged son Henry (Brenton Thwaites). Henry pledges to release his father from his underwater curse by embarking on a quest to locate the mystical, all-powerful Poseidon’s Trident.
However, this is side dressing to a story concerning Javier Bardem’s creepily anguished pirate-hunting antagonist Salazar and his furious reprisal against the prancing about predominantly inebriated anti-hero, (Depp phoning in the Sparrow spiel) that got away.
Throw old reliable Barbossa and newcomer Carina (Kaya Scodelario as the orphaned but shrewd astrologist) into the mix and you have more than enough to contend with on your captain’s plate.
To the credit of duo directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (responsible for the equally sea bound Kon-Tiki) it all churns out efficiently enough, with enough crash, bang and impressively realised wallop to keep events chugging along briskly.
There’s a couple of brilliantly staged action set pieces that defiantly command attention – one of which involves a rip-roaring bank raid and the other fearsomely effective 3D sharks. Less effective is yet another confident but faintly freaky CGI de-aging actor experiment that is employed for an elongated flashback.
Unfortunately events sink beneath the surface for an outlandish deep-sea climax that feels overly CG-reliant and pedestrian, even if it’s capped off with a surprisingly touching denouement.
Salazar’s Revenge is agreeably the trimmest Pirates film to date and includes another amusing musician cameo, a surprising end reunion and a wait-for-it post credits sequence. Trouble is you’ll probably have amnesia akin to a Sparrow-inspired hangover tomorrow because you’re unlikely to remember much from this tall tale.