Director M. Night Shyamalan's name ain't what it used to be. All the goodwill moviegoers had toward him after his slick debut with "The Sixth Sense" has vanished after a series of misfires that have gotten mixed to bad receptions.

Director M. Night Shyamalan's name ain't what it used to be. All the goodwill moviegoers had toward him after his slick debut with "The Sixth Sense" has vanished after a series of misfires that have gotten mixed to bad receptions.

So it's a little surprising that he gets top billing for "The Last Airbender," his adaptation of an animated martial arts series. Despite not being subjected to one of his signature twists, it's still a bit of a dud.

It's set in a mythical world where, after decades of harmony between nations identified by elements (Air, Water, Fire, Earth), the Fire Nation launches a brutal war for supremacy.

The only hope for peace is the Avatar, who can control all four elements. As it turns out, he appears in the form of a 12-year-old boy named Aang (Noah Ringer).

Devotees to the animated series may appreciate the complicated mythology set up in "Airbender." The rest of us can be left a bit befuddled over ponderous speeches about dragon spirits and banished fire princes.

There are some pretty cool visuals, and the Karate Kid in me would've dug all the martial arts when I was 12.

But throw in some wooden acting and 3-D that looks more like a child's diorama than "Avatar" (which, coincidentally, was part of the original title), and you can probably skip this.

It's a planned trilogy, but I kinda hope it's the last M. Night Shyamalan movie.