Pirates Of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush
Cert :12A RT: 137 mins


So how do you try to keep a franchise afloat when it’s starting to creak like a schooner in a storm?

If you are the team behind the fourth Pirates film you bring in a decent love interest for the main character, cast some gorgeous, nubile women as mermaids and throw in a proper villain.

It’s a ploy that just about works, with On Stranger Tides turning out to be more fun than the last two hideously bloated offerings in the series.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds himself on the ship of Blackbeard (Ian McShane) after being tricked by former flame Angelica (Cruz) into finding the Fountain Of Youth.

Trying to beat them to the punch are the Spanish and a peg-legged Barbossa (Rush), who’s working for a roly-poly King George II.

After a promising start featuring a sublime turn by Richard Griffiths as George II, On Stranger Tides quickly becomes little more than action scenes strung together.

Yes, some of them are brilliant (Sparrow escaping in London and some murderous mermaids are highlights) but with the likes of Cruz and McShane on board, you crave some more dialogue and better character development.

Time to hang up the bandana, Johnny.

Good For: Those impervious to franchise fatigue.

Pierre De Villiers