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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest often misses target

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The European equivalent of The Matrix Revolutions, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest finds a once-vibrant saga largely coasting on the fumes of its well-regarded predecessors.

The raging "girl power" aesthetic so dominant in the first two chapters in the late Stieg Larsson's "Millenium trilogy," The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire, noticeably slips in this so-so entry, as punk protagonist Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) spends practically the entire picture confined to hospital beds and prison cells. Relegated to a subservient role in her own adventure, Lisbeth concedes all the sleuthing to friend and journalist Mikael Blomkist (Michael Nyqvist), who continues to uncover evildoing that reaches far and wide. (Confused? Don't ask, don't tell, just rent the previous two installments.)

There's still pleasure to be had from watching the good guys take down all manner of murderers, rapists and other societal scumbags, but this series always worked best when it kept the focus tight. With an expanded array of villains (the scowling old men are moribund rather than menacing) and drawn-out legal proceedings, the film eventually loses its sting.

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