Third time's the charm?
Inferno is the 2016 film adaptation of Dan Brown's novel of the same name and a sequel to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Ron Howard returns as director, and Tom Hanks reprises his role once again as Robert Langdon. Newcomers include Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, and Ben Foster.
Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed, suffering from memory loss of events that occurred in the previous 48 hours. Dr. Sienna Brooks (Jones), a nurse at the hospital, helps Langdon escape from an assassination attempt, taking him back to her apartment. As Langdon struggles to remember what happened to him, he discovers a strange pointer in his clothes, which displays an altered version of The Map of Hell based on Dante's Inferno. Langdon and Brooks soon discover that the map is a clue to a virus dubbed "Inferno", created by bio-engineer Ben Zobrist (Foster), with the intention of wiping out half of the world's population. Langdon and Brooks then set out to find the virus, while at the same time evading the authorities and the assassin who tried to kill Langdon.
Since we now have a Da Vinci Code trilogy, this will probably be the last time that we will have to watch Mr. Robert Langdon on the big screen. He has gone from embarking on a massive treasure hunt, to saving the Catholic Church, and finally to pretty much saving the world. Not sure how much bigger you can get than that. I suppose a fourth film might see Langdon going into outer space to fight Medieval space monkeys.
So, of course, we have to ask ourselves, does this trilogy end on a high note? Angels & Demons was a step downward from The Da Vinci Code. Inferno though, is a dinky step forward. It's more enjoyable than Angels & Demons as simply an entertaining thriller, but in terms of writing and plot, it might be the most ludicrous in the trilogy.
- The fast pace. Robert Langdon in this film is like Richard Kimble from The Fugitive, in the sense that he is running from police and other authorities for almost the entire film. Also like The Fugitive, it's happening rather quickly, and there's barely any time for our main character to slow down and catch his breath. On top of evading custody, Langdon has to uncover the truth behind another mystery, and there's no "let's sit down and figure this out" sequences. The fast pacing has you on your toes and keeps the film moving.
- The ridiculous plot. I find Dante's Inferno to be an intriguing read and strongly recommend it, so I was mildly interested to see the Inferno be addressed in this film, even if it's more of a gimmick. However, the use of Dante's depiction of hell does not translate into definitive elements of a quality plot. While the plot is fast-paced, there are far too many twists and illogical happenings, that when you try to put all the puzzle pieces together, you get an ugly-looking smorgasbord.
It's never clearly defined how Zobrist is able to create a virus that is capable of wiping out half of the Earth's population, and it's even more absurd to think about how such a virus could be hidden and get past basic security. Are we to just assume that Zobrist created the virus alone in a laboratory and never had to go traveling with it?
Robert Langdon is himself a puzzle. Early on, he struggles to remember the word for coffee, but he has no trouble realizing that the Map of Hell in his pointer has been modified. He also steals the Dante mask, and there is also no clear-cut explanation for why it was stolen in the first place. Try to incorporate the several plot twists in as well, and your head will be spinning. It's no help that Felicity Jones acts primarily as the chattering monkey in Langdon's head when the two are on the run. Langdon will say one thing, and Jones either just reconfirms it or either chooses to agree or disagree. "I have no memory of taking that mask" says Langdon, to which Jones replies, "You did. I just saw you." Did I not mention that her only reason for following Langdon around after she rescues him is because she loved doing puzzles and treasure hunts when she was a child?
Inferno is a small (and I mean small) step-up from Angels & Demons, having enough to pass as a mildly exciting thriller. Tom Hanks does his best and really tries to make the most out of what the writers have to offer, and what the writers do offer is a lazy and incoherent plot that, at the end of the day, makes little to no sense. Ron Howard once again goes on autopilot direction in this one, resulting in Inferno being a somewhat less-than-satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. Of course, if this film rakes in the money yet again, Howard and his crew will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Recommend? Only if you've seen the first two films.
Here you'll find my reviews on just about any film you may have seen. I try to avoid major spoilers as much as possible. I structure my reviews in the following way: