Cinematic Releases: Inferno (2016) - Reviewed

Inferno. Let's burn this mother down!!!!

It's been 7 years since the last adventure and ten since The Da Vinci Code hit cinemas. In another case of waiting too long to make the cash grab on a trilogy, this latest entry is a repeat that should've remained dormant. 

Dan Brown's favorite blundering character, Robert Langdon is back for another globe trotting affair that pits him against an end of the world virus and a troupe of underdeveloped bad guys with an ambitious but dumb plot. Unlike the last Ron Howard and Tom Hanks team up, this Inferno is an icy cold mystery/action flick that's far too remedial in its delivery. Side stepping the last entry's greatness, Howard's filmed version of Inferno definitely belongs in the post-summer/pre-Christmas glut of mediocre films. Gone are the hard religious overtones of The Da Vinci Code and the near brilliance of Angels and Demons has just disappeared. While Tom Hanks is uncomfortably teamed with another youthful beauty, this third movie is a sham compared to the other filmed Langdon stories. Stemming from a sleep inducing first act and the all encompassing man on the run syndrome, audiences will be bored to tears. 

It's a hard pill to swallow when you have this generation's Jimmy Stewart and a heavy hitter like Howard failing this hard. Inferno has a weird pacing, a strangely cheap looking level of cinematography, and the story plays like an episode of 24. Nothing about the movie feels original or like there's any heart put into the production. The story is extremely simple compared to other Brown adaptations, which immediately drags down the performances and believability. Hanks looks fatigued and overworked. Felicity Jones tries to be convincing despite a poor script. And the villains all seem like they just rolled out of bed and are highly annoyed with having to do anything evil. Inferno gives us plenty of running (again), a bunch of non-descriptive jargon about Dante's writings, and a slew of new characters that lack any introduction. If you want to sit around being sold on the idea that everyone in the movie is way smarter than you, this will suit your weird fetish perfectly. 

Look up there! It's Rogue One marketing. I bet you can't wait for that!

Another major issue with the film is its run time. There was absolutely no reason to extend this to two hours. There's not enough material to fill the canvas as Howard once again falters to create a great movie. Somewhere along the line, he forgot how to make enjoyable fiction. His Beatles documentary was watchable. And his racing movie Rush was acceptable. But In the Heart of the Sea and Inferno feel amateurish compared to Backdraft or Cocoon. Something is amiss in his art these days. It would be a nice thing to see him return to form with another masterpiece one of these days. For now, he should stop making these and Hanks should steer clear of any more Langdon adventures. It's over. Flame out.