Direction: Ron Howard
Actors: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones
If Dan Brown the author of the mega-selling conspiracy thrillers (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons) is to be believed, Satan never sleeps.
In the third installment of the cinematic franchise, oddly based on the fourth of Brown’s novels, the emissary of evil appears in the guise of a billionaire biologist (Ben Foster) intent on global destruction.
It seems that the crazed geneticist is so concerned about the problem of over-population he decides to unleash a plague capable of decimating humankind.
It’s now up to the Harvard based symbologist-turned-unlikely hero (Hanks, reprising his role from the first two movies) to try foil the dastardly plan.
This time around, however, the wannabe savior is at a disadvantage. At the outset, he wakes up in a hospital bed in Florence. Diagnosed with mild retrograde amnesia, he is unable to remember how he got there or indeed, why he’s in Italy in the first place.
Not to worry for the protagonist is once again teamed up with a female sidekick (Jones, beguiling in the vein of Audrey Tautou and Ayelet Zurer in the preceding chapters).
The patient and his doctor subsequently find themselves following a trail of clues tied to the writings of the 14th century poet Dante Alighieri as well as the parchment painting ‘Map of Hell’ by the Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli.
As the hours tick-down, they scurry from one touristy location to the next, including heritage sites in Venice and Istanbul, in order to prevent the imminent pandemic.
The whole story is hokum, of course, especially the superfluous involvement of the representatives of international health organizations (Sidse Babett Knudsden-Omar Sy).
On the other hand, Irrfan Khan fetches up to provide an element of excitement, not to mention playfulness, as the head of a shady security firm.
While the narrative is clogged with consistent chatter and plentiful twists and turns, the action sequences are of the sub-par Indiana Jones/James Bond variety.
Director Ron Howard who transposed the earlier two Brown books into big screen blockbusters fails to whip up the requisite throb and tension for the threequel.
Ultimately, Inferno is a long-winded mystery-adventure of the forgettable kind.