Captain Jack is back, and so is almost everyone else in this bloated sequel to the 2003 blockbuster. Once again, Johnny Depp's staggering pirate teams up with dashing swordsman Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and his irritating fiancée (Keira Knightley) to fight soggy evil, here personified by Bill Nighy in a squid suit. A complicated plot involving a mysterious key and Will's seafood-wearing dad fights for space between relentless action sequences in a film so overloaded that it threatens to capsize.
One thing you should know before you go in: Dead Man's Chest is the first of two sequels shot back to back, with the final instalment due next May. It is, in other words, The Matrix Reloaded with shellfish. This might go some way towards explaining the tangle of storylines that director Gore Verbinski leaves unresolved at the climax, but after two and a half hours of sea monsters and shouting, you may be past caring.
"EXHAUSTING WHEN IT SHOULD BE THRILLING"
The problem here is too much money and not enough wit. The script's not so much a story as a tin of sardines, cramming every barnacle-crusted cliché from the pirate lexicon into a single box: giant sea monster, voodoo princess, desert island, angry cannibals, black spot, peg leg, buried treasure, ghost ship... it's exhausting when it should be thrilling. The same, sadly, is true of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack, whose incessant camping up of every single line eventually makes you want to punch him. Bloom and Knightley are mere planks for Depp to strut across, and the only performer you warm too, ironically enough, is Nighy's crustacean villain.