DIRECTOR Ron Howard has set himself an uphill battle with Inferno.
Seven years after Angels & Demons, this third entry in a so-so franchise has an unimaginative “shock” twist obvious from the get-go.
It is as if Howard was feeling bored and up for the challenge of delivering a good film, despite the odds.
Though it has its share of downfalls, I found myself swept up in the silliness of this Italy and clue-hopping mystery.
Waking up in a Florence hospital confused and with a sketchy memory, Harvard professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) must piece together why he is there and why an unknown woman is shooting at him.
On the run with Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), the pair discover a trail of clues left in tourist hot spots by zany billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), who has a theory to wipe out a chunk of the human race to ensure its future survival.
Anyone who has watched at least one B-grade thriller can guess the twist about 90 minutes ahead of its reveal, making for a long wait until the inevitable.
But Howard opens with a frantic and frazzled bang and holds the tone as Hanks and Jones feign chemistry as they put the pieces together.
It is one of few indications that Howard has a firm handle on the familiar material – cranking it up to 10 and moving at a brisk enough pace that hopefully the audience won’t have time to ponder the holes.
While it doesn’t go up in a ball of flames, Inferno is a toasty time passer.
Directed by Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now