PG-13 | 2h 1min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Review - Matt Mungle
*In theaters 10.28.16*
Synopsis: When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.
Review: The good news is that INFERNO doesn't suck. The studio should take that as a positive review. The third installment in the Langdon trilogy would have dove head first into the fiery pits of hell had it not been for a few key elements So let's celebrate some mediocrity and call it a day.
Professor Langdon (Tom Hanks) has awaken in a hospital with a head trauma that makes the last several days a blur. He has no idea how he has ended up where he is and can barely remember his name. But there is no time to recuperate as he and his attending physician Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) are immediately on the run. They can't trust anyone and must rely solely on specific clues - all revolving around Dante's Inferno - to help them survive. If they fail to figure it all out the entire world's population will be at risk. That much is easy to understand.
The rest of the script is a convoluted mish-mash of random characters, organizations, and spy games. Luckily the action is intense and the adventure never lulls. This keeps the audience from having to spend too much time figuring things out. By the time you conjure up what question you want to ask a new set of vague plots are introduced; so you move on. Once the smoke clears you sort of understand what happened and who was zooming who but it doesn't help with the questions gathered along the way. You shrug your shoulders, say "ok, and agree that all in all it didn't suck.
The before mentioned action is one key to why the film isn't horrible. It picks up the pace early and never slows down. It feels like a Jason Bourne or Bond film in the way it offers up the chase scenes and fighting. Ron Howard directs these moments expertly and the film looks fantastic. Like the films before it (and a little taste of movies like National Treasure) you get to see a lot of art and learn some historic trivia about Europe. The architecture and old world elements add depth to the shots.
Another benefit is the character of Langdon. He is a smart dude and it is fun to watch him figure things out. Hanks reprises the role and most will admit that it is hard not to like old Tom. Felicity Jones has just as much screen time and is a solid co-star for Hanks. You like her character and the two of them move well together.
What fails is the story. Would reading the book first help? Maybe. It might aid in understanding organizational motives better. That said the script may not follow the book as closely as fans would like. The franchise has a reputation of making up stuff along the way and totally changing the endings. I doubt this one is faithful to the written word completely.
If you want wall to wall action and a strong dose of Hanks' character then you will be happy. If you can overlook a lot of convenient scenarios and unresolved conflict that will help too. If you want a movie that simply doesn't suck; then bingo. This is it. INFERNO is rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality. It is best suited for those over 16 and actually only adults will gravitate to the themes and characters. There is little to hold the interest of younger viewers. Also the imagery and depictions of Dante's hell are quite scary and intense. The imagery will stick with you for sure. I give it 3 out of 5 head wounds. I didn't hate it but found little to reminisce about afterwards.