Inferno – Hanks Can’t Light The Fire – Review

Courtesy Columbia

Courtesy Columbia

Tom Hanks wants to set the box office on fire with Inferno, but he needs a bigger flame thrower.

Hanks is back as Robert Langdon – the Da Vinci Code’s Harvard professor of symbology who finds himself waking up in a hospital in Florence, Italy.  He can’t remember the past few days, and he is plagued by horrifying hallucinations, but the doctor on call, Sienna (Felicity Jones), is a big fan, so she springs into action to help Langdon when an assassin (Ana Ularu) shows up to finish the job.

The two end up on the run to avoid being captured by evil guys, that persistent assassin, and the World Health Organization as Langdon and Sienna try to solve a puzzle to stop a madman from unleashing a world-wide virus that will kill off half of humanity (this guy might as well be a Bond villain with the elaborate plot and ample opportunity for our hero to put the kibosh on it).

Inferno was so boring it had me hoping Hanks might grow back that infamous Da Vinci Code mullet to spice things up.  Maybe it could have been included in a flashback?

Sadly, director Ron Howard and writer David Koepp (based on the novel by Dan Brown) never let the audience play along with the mystery.  Instead of letting us gather clues and use this knowledge to figure out what will happen next, Inferno is written in a way where stuff just happens and Langdon drops knowledge out of nowhere, so he can make some excited exclamation about how they need to go to Venice based on this obscure marking on a painting or sculpture from the 13th century that you have never heard of.

Inferno isn’t full of enough action to offset the lack of mystery, so the audience gets to feel like they are watching a game of Jeopardy where we know none of the answers, but want to stick around until the end to see who wins.

Howard and the editing team add some visual flair as we see Langdon’s horrifying visions and flashbacks to the past our professor might have experienced or might have imagined.  It helps add some excitement and challenges Hanks to act as if he is in shocking pain physically and emotionally.

Koepp doesn’t do much with the dialogue to help either.  Poor Irrfan Khan is supposed to be playing a very evil, scary dude, but is stuck with absurd, ridiculous dialogue that fits much better in a comedy or a parody.  I hope he had fun (and was paid handsomely) because his character is almost meaningless.  The only positive about this character was how his scenes made the audience laugh, which woke up the guy sitting in front of me who was snoring louder than a grizzly bear.

Worst of all, the audience is treated to a love story out of nowhere tossed in like an afterthought, which does nothing but make the pain of Inferno last longer.

1waffles_sml1 Waffle (Out of 4)

Inferno is rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality.