Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: Inferno – Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones run around senselessly in pulp thriller

Director Ron Howard’s lacklustre effort feels hastily put together, lacks a coherent plot and fails to breathe life into its crude and unsophisticated source material

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 8:02pm

2.5/5 stars

In this post-Bourne era, action thrillers are expected to offer a bit more than senseless running around – things like emotions, intriguing characters and actual storylines. But Inferno, the third instalment of the trilogy that also includes The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons , has none of those qualities.

Surprisingly for a film by Ron Howard, one of Hollywood’s most reliable directors, Inferno is an unfocused work which seems like it was slammed together in a hurry. Tom Hanks returns for the third time as Robert Langdon, a kind of Indiana Jones of the art world, this time aided by British actress Felicity Jones as a brainy doctor.

Why Ron Howard is directing Tom Hanks for the third time in Robert Langdon series

The jumbled plot has something to do with a new strain of bubonic plague that a madman has introduced into the world to save humanity from destroying itself through overpopulation. Langdon may or may not be carrying the virus, and a bunch of different antagonists chase him around Florence to try to get it.

Like its predecessors, Inferno is taken from a pulp thriller by Dan Brown. Films can often transcend their roots when actors breathe life into them, but that’s not the case here, and Inferno proves to be as crude and unsophisticated as its source material.

Tom Hanks sees US election warning in thriller Inferno

Involving a story about Dante’s vision of hell in the plot ranks of creative desperation, and the idea of an armed World Health Organisation SWAT team is just bizarre. The result is a dull and unexciting watch, but at least the Florentine locations are easy on the eyes.

Inferno opens on November 3

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook