By John Black

2 stars

Here’s a new drinking game. Watch Inferno and every time there is a line of dialogue that is not just exposition to help you understand the hilariously overcomplicated plot, take a drink.

By the end of the picture, you’ll be legally under the limit to drive home.

Directed by Ron Howard, the film tells the story of master puzzle solver Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), the man who cracked the Da Vinci Code in 2006, fought Angels and Demons in 2009 and is now back to keep a twisted billionaire with a silly name, Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) from unleashing a plague that will turn the world into a modern day version of Dante’s Inferno.

What can be summed up in one, granted overlong paragraph, it doled out in the audience over the course of the movies two hour running time through the dialogue of the various characters as they talk to, or about, Langdon. There’s a minimum of character development beyond that, with the notable exception of a rather funny deadpan performance by Irrfan Khan as the head of a secret organization that will either help or hinder Zobrist’s diabolical plot depending on what the story needs.

Of course, Langdon gets some arm candy to drag around as he jogs from puzzle to puzzle, and this time that space is occupied by Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) who does an absolutely horrible job of convincing the audience that she is working on the side of good to stop Zobrist.

As the bad guy with equally bad name, Foster does enough to keep you interested, but not by much. It’s not enough for a guy out to destroy half the world’s population to be interesting; he needs to be menacing and Foster just isn’t.

Completionist, the kind of people who have read all the source material – the three best sellers written by Dan Brown and seen the first two movies, will probably need to see Inferno on the big screen. The rest can wait to watch it – and drink to it – at home.