The opening scenes of the Ron Howard directed “Inferno” give a crystal clear picture of what’s to come in the next two hours: a confusing, incoherent jumble of a movie that easily earns its spot as one of the worst films of 2016. Not only is this unsophisticated movie a complete and utter mess, it’s not even entertaining.
Tom Hanks is back as Harvard smartypants Robert Langdon, a popular character from the fictional series (“The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons”) by author Dan Brown. This time Langdon is chasing clues from Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” in a race against time to stop the release of a toxin designed to wipe out half of the human race.
The hidden clues are uncovered with little fanfare, and half of the situations make no sense whatsoever. There’s a bunch of nonsensical double-crossing and more than a few gaping plot holes. This chaotic movie reaches heights of absurdity that are rare even for a dumb pop culture thriller like this — and that’s even if you already readily suspend disbelief.
Langdon wakes up with amnesia in a hospital in Italy, where he joins up with young doctor Sienna (the horribly miscast Felicity Jones). What follows are many noisy shootouts and chase sequences (that have zero suspense whatsoever), and scene after scene of scholars attempting to decipher hidden meaning in numbers and works of art. Yawn.
Hanks is America’s likeable everyman, which means he can (sort of) carry the movie — but his charisma can only take this material so far. He doesn’t get much help from his dreadful supporting cast (led by the irritating and wooden Jones and the caricature acting turns from Ben Foster and Omar Sy) either. Thank goodness for Sidse Babett Knudsen, who adds a brief glimmer of professionalism and chemistry to this dreck. If only she had been paired with Hanks instead of Jones in a larger role.
This is a stupid story with a lazy plot and an inarticulate screenplay with oversimplified dialogue. It’s poorly directed in what amounts to nothing more than cinematic debris. This certainly isn’t a movie anyone wanted, which in turns means that it’s also a movie that nobody needed.
This mess earns a half star because I did enjoy the film’s setting in Rome, Venice and Florence (which are among my favorite cities on Earth), and one extra star because I still love you, Tom Hanks.
Have you seen the poster for “Inferno,” the new sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”? You know, the one where Tom Hanks and his co-star Felicity Jones are running towards or from something? If you haven’t seen it, check it out. I’ll wait.
The poster is actually a perfect advertisement for this movie. You see that completely vacant, bored look on Felicity Jones’s face? That pretty much sums up her “acting” in this movie. Tom Hanks does a good job as usual, but he can only carry a movie with a dull co-star and a stupid plot so far.
In “Inferno,” some kind of group led by billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) has engineered a virus that will essentially wipe out half of mankind. Driven by the belief that overpopulation will doom the earth, Zobrist has come to the conclusion that the only way to save the planet is to cull its population. When Zobrist commits suicide to escape his pursuers, Robert Langdon (Hanks) is left to follow a trail of clues left by Zobrist to find where the virus has been hidden, before it can be released.
One of the incredibly stupid things about this film is the whole idea of Zobrist hiding the virus away and engineering a trail of clues to lead to it. Why bother? If you’re committed to a plan of action, why wait? And the reveal is even more idiotic, when we discover who it was that Zobrist wanted to find the virus. Why go through all of that trouble? If you just wanted that person to have it, why not just give it to them?
Okay, even suspending disbelief this movie is no good. Scene after scene, we see Langdon and Brooks (Jones) following the breadcrumb trail to exotic locations while chased by multiple pursuers. While it’s fun to look at all of the interesting places they go (like Florence and Istanbul), there just isn’t much to hold the viewer’s interest.
Don’t bother watching “Inferno”. It’s time for this franchise to die.