Review: INFERNO (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Review: INFERNO (2016)

Review: INFERNO (2016)

When Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in a hospital in Florence from a mysterious head injury, he finds himself hallucinating fragments of nightmarish apocalyptic visions. Apparently, his visions have something to do with the crazy billionaire Bertrand Zobist (Ben Foster), who sets out to wipe out half of the world's population with a deadly virus. Soon, Langdon joins forces with a resourceful young doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) in a race-against-the-time piecing the puzzles together left by Zobrist to locate the virus.

REVIEW: Seven years after Tom Hanks' Langdon stopped the antimatter bomb from reducing Vatican to rubbles in ANGELS & DEMONS (2009) and ten years after he discovered a shocking truth surrounding Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene in THE DA VINCI CODE (2006), the famous symbologist returns for the third time with another race-against-the-time scenario.

Ron Howard, who previously directed the first two Robert Langdon movies, wastes no time accelerating the pace in INFERNO with the Florence-set opening foot chase, followed by a scene in the hospital where Langdon waking up disoriented. The pulse-pounding moments doesn't stop there as Howard continues with a shootout scene involving a female killer dressed in a carabinieri uniform (Ana Ularu).

The scenic backdrops of Florence and Istanbul, in the meantime, are beautifully captured by Howard's regular cinematographer Salvatore Totino.

Review: INFERNO (2016)

But despite some of the promising moments, INFERNO is yet another soulless blockbuster that also plagued the previous first two movies. Even with veteran screenwriter David Koepp responsible for adapting the novel (he also previously did ANGELS & DEMONS), the plot is strictly formulaic to the point where Langdon's puzzle-solving skill of deciphering the hidden meaning behind some of the historical artefacts (in this case, Dante and Botticelli) feels hackneyed. Then, there is the corny subplot to give Langdon a so-called backstory involving his romance with Sidse Babett Knudsen's Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey.

Howard also attempts to add some stylistic flourishes into his movie here, notably during the nightmarish hallucinations. However, the heavily CGI moment of its hellish environment feels like watching a cut scene from a dated Playstation 2 video game. The obligatory action scenes, ranging from chase to shootout, are mostly staged with little cinematic flair.

The cast is a mixed bag. Tom Hanks is basically the same old person you have seen him in THE DA VINCI CODE and ANGELS & DEMONS. Except for this time, his acting is stiffer than ever and even looks as if he only doing this for the sake of a huge paycheck. Felicity Jones fares better as Langdon's comely sidekick while Omar Sy, who plays as one of the WHO task force team members, looks as if he's auditioning for a supporting role in a BOURNE movie. Irrfan Khan, on the other hand, nearly steals the show with his engaging role as the head of a mysterious consulting firm Harry Sims 'The Provost'.

It's business as usual in the third big screen adaptation of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon novel, but only this time, INFERNO feels both dated and routine. 

* This review is written courtesy from Sony Pictures Malaysia IMAX press screening *

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