If you discount animated cowboy toy Woody, Robert Langdon is the only character Tom Hanks has ever revisited.
Everyone’s favourite Hollywood leading man first played the genius iconology and symbology professor in 2006 film The Da Vinci Code, before following up three years later in Angels and Demons.
Now he’s back again in Inferno – the fourth book in the Dan Brown series that inspired the films (book three, The Lost Symbol, was skipped in the film adaptations).
The appeal of the series cannot be denied – the mix of history, adventure, art, danger and exotic locations are exciting and a rare treat.
But there is something that just doesn’t sit right.
Hanks, always the lovable, trustworthy everyman, is just a little hard to buy as the slightly arrogant, hyper-intelligent problem-solver.
Inferno puts Langdon in a sticky position. The character – known for his incredible recall – has suffered a head trauma and cannot remember the events of the preceding 48 hours. He wakes in a hospital bed in Florence with no idea how he came to be there or why someone had tried to kill him.
His doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), whisks him away from the hospital as he is pursued by someone dressed as a police officer, and the two take shelter in Dr Brooks’ apartment.
There they discover Langdon has a strange device with an image projector in his possession and they are led on a journey that has something to do with Dante’s Inferno and the mysterious, recently-deceased, billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster).
Zobrist’s world-view – that human overpopulation will ultimately lead to the extinction of our species – is compelling and gives his plans some understandable motivation, even if his means cannot be supported.
Much like the two previous films, Inferno is a fast-paced chase with a convoluted plot and a slew of European pursuers of questionable trustworthiness.
The film provides some not entirely unexpected twists and turns but overall is a bit flat.
There is one shining light though – Irrfan Khan as ‘The Provost’ is a delightful injection. Whoever is responsible for casting him should get a medal.