Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon in the third big-screen thriller based on author
Dan Brown's brainteasing best-sellers. Fans of the two previous installments, and The Da Vinci Code , will find much to like in this latest entry in the popular franchise, which again features convoluted twists, enigmatic clues, and a puzzling mystery with earthshaking consequences. The story begins with billionaire bioengineer Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) delivering a TED-like talk on the dire consequences of overpopulation. He claims humanity must be thinned out in order for it and the planet to survive. "Humanity is the disease," he says. "Inferno is the cure." Inferno is Zobrist's plan to unleash a horrific plague that will wipe out half of the world's population. The deadly plot is set in motion, but Zobrist, who is being pursued by a threatening figure demanding the virus, commits suicide three days before it is to be carried out. Unfortunately, he left behind clues to the viral pathogen's location. Cut to Langdon, who wakes up in a Florence hospital and has no idea how he got there, or even how he got to Italy. He also has a nasty gash on his scalp and is suffering from short-term memory loss. Soon, he's in the crosshairs of an assassin and is chased by a SWAT-like team from the World Health Organization. He joins forces with Dr. Sienna Brooks (an alluring Angels & Demons Felicity Jones), the physician who was treating him, to find out why he's a target and stop Zobrist's disciples from obtaining the virus and executing the lethal scheme. From there, the pair follow a series of cryptic clues left by Zobrist that involve works of art, which leads them from Botticelli's Map of Hell to Vasari's Battle of Marciano to Dante's death mask to the Florence Baptistery to...well, you get the point. Their investigation eventually takes them to Venice and Istanbul, with killers and traitors always in hot pursuit. Ron Howard once again directs, and he adds a bit of gothic horror to the proceedings this time out. Throughout the film, Langdon is bedeviled by disturbing visions of a literal hell on Earth, with bodies on fire, grotesque figures walking around with heads twisted backwards, and rivers of fresh blood flowing through a scorched cityscape. The frightening images create an eerie, unsettling atmosphere that serves the doomsday story line well. The movie is also impeccably cast. Hanks, of course, is sturdy as always, if a bit too earnest as Langdon. But it's the supporting cast who really shine. Foster, so good in the recent , delivers another terrific turn as the genius madman who sets the story in motion; Hell or High Water Sidse Babett Knudsen is captivating as a W.H.O. executive who shares a romantic past with Langdon; and Irrfan Khan adds some much needed comic relief as the head of a clandestine security firm who isn't above ordering hits -- or, when warranted, carrying them out himself. Kudos also to Howard's frequent cinematographer Salvatore Totino for his breathtaking, on-location lensing of Florence and Venice. Sure, and the whole Dan Brown trilogy aren't nearly as fun as the Inferno Indiana Jones movies (or even the flicks), and they don't possess the high-octane energy of the National Treasure Bourne adventures. Still, if you're looking for entertaining popcorn fare on a Saturday afternoon or evening, you could do worse than this diverting actioner, regardless of how preposterous it is. If nothing else, it serves as a gorgeous travelogue of Florence and Venice, and may prompt you to book a flight to Italy as soon as you exit the theater.
All Movie Guide - Tim Holland