(director/writer: Fede Alvarez; screenwriters: Steven Knight/Jay Basu/based on the novel by David Lagercrantz/with characters introduced by Stieg Larsson; cinematographer: Pedro Luque; editor: Tatiana S. Riegel; music: Roque Baños; cast: Claire Foy (Lisbeth Salander), Sverrir Grudnason (Mikael Blomkvist), Lakeith Stanfield (Ed Needham), Sylvia Hoeks (Camilla Salander), Stephen Merchant (Frans Balder), Claes Bang (Jan Holster), Christopher Convery (August), Vicki Krieps (Erika Berger), Cameron Britton (Plague), Synnøve Macody Lund (Gabriella Grane), Beau Gadsdon (Young Lisbeth), Carlotta von Falkenhayn (Young Camilla), Hendrik Heutmann (Milos Meer), Sonja Chan (Naked Asian Woman), Mikael Persbrandt (Alexander Zalachenko); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Eli Bush/Berna Levin/Scott Rudin/Søren Stærmose/Ole Søndberg /Elizabeth Cantillon; Columbia Pictures; 2018-UK/Germany/Sweden/Canada/USA-in English)

Goes high tech, has little drama and is dark in mood.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Fede Alvarez (“Don’t Breathe”/”Evil Dead”) is director for the fifth film in the Dragon Tattoo series. It goes high tech, has little drama and is dark in mood. Even with a solid performance by the new Lisbeth Salander, played by the skilled Claire Foy, the Swedish Goth tale still disappoints. Co-writers Alvarez, Steven Knight and Jay Basu base it on the novel by David Lagercrantz. The franchise creator, Stieg Larsson, died in 2004, the year before the first novel was published. In a flashback opening, the adolescent Lisbeth (Beau Gadsdon) and her sister Camilla (Carlotta von Falkenhayn) are summoned to the bedroom of their Russian crime lord father, Alexander Zalachenko (Mikael Persbrandt). To avert his evil sexual intentions, Lisbeth jumps off the balcony to escape in a blizzard. Overcoming a terrible childhood, the heavily tattooed and body-pierced bisexual Lisbeth becomes known in Stockholm as a skilled computer hacker and a vigilant avenging angel of abused women. She rides a motorcycle and is armed with an electric taser. Wary of men, one of the few she trusts is her biographer and ex-lover, the married journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason). The other is the high-tech hacker Plague (Cameron Britton). She enlists the aid of the journalist and of American NSA agent, Edwin Needham (Lakeith Stanfield), to recover for software programmer Balder, (Stephen Merchant), soon to be killed, his stolen “Firefall”, a program capable of accessing the world’s nuclear codes. Of note, only Balder’s six year-old autistic savant son August (Christopher Convery) can decipher the access code. Lisbeth’s briefcase with the recovered stolen goods is stolen from her by the Spiders crime syndicate, led by the mercenary Claes Bang (Jan Holster). They are connected to her psychopathic, estranged sister Camilla (Sylvia Hoeks) and Gabriella Grane (Synnove Macody Lund), the deputy director of the Swedish Secret Service. With a few plot twists, a retro looking number of James Bond-like scenes and an urgency to be a mainstream action picture, the film never pauses for reflection in its adrenaline rush to serve up action from beginning to end. Unfortunately this takes away from any worthy dramatic moments. It pales when compared to the much superior American remake of the original 2009 Swedish version by the great David Fincher– “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (2011).