The Da Vinci Code‘s Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) takes on thrift-shop Thanos (Ben Foster) with an infernal plan to release a virus destroying half the world’s population in order to save the planet in yet another elaborate symbology-based crime plot.
This time the pseudo-intellectual veneer comes at the expense of Dante whose death mask and works are used to facilitate a trail of clues on a par with Jungle Run. At least it made a kind of sense in The Da Vinci Code, because it was a secret message hidden by Leonardo Da Vinci. Inferno is about a random plan by a bargain bin Bond villain, who happens to have left clues to help foil it in Dante’s works for no reason.
Dan’s Inferno follows the usual structure: Langdon conveniently meets an all-purpose lady friend (Felicity Jones) and discovers an artifact which sends him from location to location while being pursued by the authorities – this time the Italian police and the famously unscrupulous agents of the World Health Organisation (?). At each location they find another clue then leave by the back door before they can be captured. Italian police have apparently never heard of surrounding a building. It’s a while since I’ve seen the other two films, but The Da Vinci Code had a car chase and Angels and Demons had someone jumping out of a plane. Inferno just has bits where they explain the plot, sometimes connected by light jogging which looks like it’s killing Tom Hanks.
The film makes good use of its tourist-trap locations, but is weighed down by its infertile plot and half-arsed performances. The dynamic between Langdon and lady-friend is even more under-explained and confused than in the previous films and its attempted tie-ins with Renaissance art and culture make it feel bafflingly out of its depth. Director Ron Howard does nothing to make the limp material fly, and the only suspense you’ll find is the suspension of disbelief required to watch it, resulting in a film that ends up feeling like the 7th circle of Hell. Burn baby, burn, it’s a discount inferno.