Rated: PG for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: October 28, 2016 Released by: Columbia Pictures
Tom Hanks reprises his role as Prof. Robert Langdon for a third time with Ron Howard at the helm and David Koepp adapting another Dan Brown page-turner with convoluted scavenger hunt dexterity.
Inferno completes the trilogy begun with the implausibly bloated The Da Vinci Code and continued seven years ago in the same fashion, though swifter Angels & Demons. The latter seemed to fit the tone suited to a Hollywood thriller more so than this scattershot affair with a somewhat wry Hanks obviously unable to instill the same kind of moxie he did in Angels. The banal, hackneyed predictability apparently is contagious with fewer clues to solve here and discussion of Botticelli and Dante (his 'Divine Comedy') part of the desperate, increasingly dire milieu.
The renowned symbol guru hallucinates rivers of blood after coming to in a Florence hospital not knowing of his injurious predicament, which entails amnesia (did anyone say Jason Bourne?). A very fit scholar turned surgeon whose antiquities and ruses, Dr. Sienna Brooks, an underwhelming, wasted Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), turns out to be the catalyst for Langdon to do a lot of researching and fleeing to trace down clues concerning a deadly virus/potential pandemic after assassins are on his tail as many a 16th Century paintings are perused.
Thugs under the employ of Christoph (Omar Sy), as well as a military-infused World Health Organization with a representative (Sidse Babett Knudsen), not to mention a very wealthy fixer of the shadowy Consortium, a piquant Harry Sims (a scene-stealing Irrfan Khan of Jurassic World and Slumdog Millionaire). The intrepidly dogged Langdon learns of the billionaire anarchist Zobrist (Ben Foster of Lone Survivor, also appearing in romanticized recollections) behind the biological weapon planned to curb global population.
So, the race against time unfolds with the production taking advantage of scenic trips to Venice and Istanbul with the action turning out to be more haphazard than exciting even given the bogged down background as ludicrous as the deceased Zobrist's nefarious plans are on a cursory level.
Inferno is hardly incendiary in an absurdly entertaining way (gradually learning which characters aren't into malfeasance, if not so sure thereafter), though Hanks (you probably wouldn't expect even this latter-day Jimmy Stewart to follow up his solid, sincere effort in the hit Sully with something nearly as good so soon afterwards) does have a decent jaded rapport with capable character actors like Knudsen. For some, Howard and Hanks have made a splash (no pun intended) with this pretentiously cryptographic franchise, but it hardly wraps up in a blaze of glory.