Jack in ac­tion

SFX - - Reviews - Josh Win­ning

RE­LEASED OUT NOW! 12A | 129 min­utes Direc­tors Joachim Røn­ning, Espen Sand­berg Cast Johnny Depp, Ge­of­frey Rush, Javier Bar­dem, Kaya Scode­lario

There’s a scene in Salazar’s Re­venge in which a rum-ad­dled Cap­tain Jack Spar­row (Johnny Depp) falls asleep stand­ing up while the film’s McGuf­fin is ex­plained to him. “I’m so sorry, were you still talk­ing?” he slurs. Chances are, au­di­ences know the feel­ing. Five films in, the Pi­rates Of The Caribbean for­mula’s creakier than a pi­rate’s peg-leg, but – avast! shiver me tim­bers! – with their slap­stick set-pieces and buoy­ant sense of fun, direc­tors Joachim Røn­ning and Espen Sand­berg have helped old Jack re­claim that most elu­sive of trea­sures: his mojo.

Six years af­ter the wa­tered­down of­fer­ings of On Stranger Tides (all but ig­nored here), Jack bat­tles zomb­i­fied pi­rate-hunter Cap­tain Armando Salazar (Javier Bar­dem). Branded the “butcher of the sea”, Salazar once faced Jack and lost, only to be­come an im­mor­tal scourge. Hell­bent on re­venge, he com­mands a grue­some crew, a trio of pet sharks and an im­pres­sive ship with a unique abil­ity to de­mol­ish smaller ves­sels.

Mean­while, new kids Henry (Bren­ton Th­waites) and Ca­rina (Kaya Scode­lario) are on a quest to find Po­sei­don’s tri­dent. While their sub­plot is the film’s weak­est el­e­ment, Røn­ning and Sand­berg ex­cel at find­ing fresh hooks for their pi­rates. The open­ing bank rob­bery set-piece is a doozy and the gags, when they land, are a hoot – par­tic­u­larly an amus­ing mis­un­der­stand­ing of the word “horol­ogy”. Crit­i­cally, the duo un­der­stand that the Pi­rates fran­chise is all about hu­mour-laced spec­ta­cle and, while Salazar’s Re­venge is far from per­fect, it has that by the boat­load. Wel­come back, Jack.

In the guil­lo­tine scene, the two heads in the bas­ket were mod­elled on direc­tors Joachim Røn­ning and Espen Sand­berg.

What if this is Grindel­wald in dis­guise...?

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