Movie review: Ridiculous 'Inferno" another code not worth unraveling

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

First off, let me state that I'm a firm believer in suspension of disbelief where movies are involved. I'm well aware that taking things too literally and combing through the finer points of logic can make you a real wet blanket.

That said, sometimes you can go to the well one too many times. Such is the case for me with the cinematic adventures of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon.

The brainy protagonist of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons" is back, and once again his uncanny knowledge of symbology proves handy in saving modern civilization. Take comfort, liberal arts majors!

We meet billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) in a kind of bizarre apocalyptic Ted Talk about human overpopulation. "Mankind is the cancer in its own body," Zobrist laments. I'll bet he's real fun at parties.

Soon we rejoin our hero Langdon (Tom Hanks reprising the role for a third time), as he awakens in a hospital in Florence with short-term memory loss stemming from a head trauma. Oh, and visions of blood flowing through the streets.

Soon it's apparent that people are, once again, out to kill Langdon, so with the help of his doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), Langdon is soon off unraveling a mystery that happens to fit right in the wheelhouse of his unique skillset.

It seems Zobrist has an interesting solution to overpopulation. He's planning to unleash a deadly virus that will "cull" the world's population by half. Fortunately for us, he's left behind an elaborate puzzle centered on Dante's "Inferno" that will allow Langdon to again save the day.

A decade after the big-screen adaptation of Brown's runaway hit novelThe Da Vinci Code, it is fair to say this novelty has faded a bit. It's another Scooby-Doo mystery with a lesson in Renaissance art and literature, and frankly it feels a bit silly at times.

Ron Howard also returns to direct the third part of this trilogy, and he hardly seems inspired by the material. Even the gorgeous locales - Florence, Venice, Istanbul - don't distract from this weak plot.

Once again let me reiterate that what's good for the page isn't always good for the screen. In the condensed timeline of a two-hour movie, some of these red herrings and plot twists rightly feel like they come out of thin air. And most of them don't hold water.

Hanks is still as likable as ever, but there's little chemistry with Jones, who's a far more engaging actress than you see here. (Insert internal "Rogue One" countdown.) If you're still into this stuff, have at it, but for the most part "Inferno" never catches fire.


Opens Thursday

2 stars out of 4