Certificate: 12A

Running Time: 121 mins

Star Rating: 3/5

IT'S been ten years since Tom Hanks squandered his Oscar-calibre talent as the ingenious hero of The Da Vinci Code. The 2009 sequel, Angels & Demons, was hellish rather than heavenly and now leading man Hanks, director Ron Howard and screenwriter David Koepp reunite to translate Dan Brown's pulpy page turner Inferno into a high-octane chase thriller.

Alas, the script is muddled and lacking in full-blooded characterisation. However, Hanks and co-star Felicity Jones forge a pleasant on-screen partnership and their co-stars merrily chew scenery as the plot throws up various double-crosses and red herrings before the truth about this conundrum-laden quest is revealed in a montage of flashbacks.

Inferno opens with crazed scientist Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) taking a backwards dive from a bell tower in Florence, thereby escaping the clutches of security forces led by Christoph Bruder (Omar Sy). Soon after, Harvard University professor Robert Langdon (Hanks) wakes in a hospital in the same city with a gunshot wound to the head and a fractured memory.

Kind medic Dr Sienna Brooks (Jones) tends to him and when bullets fly in the corridors, she helps Langdon escape to her nearby apartment.

Working against them is Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan), head of a shadowy consortium, which billionaire Zobrist engaged to protect his interests. Sims despatches a gun-toting assassin called Vayentha (Ana Ularu), who is dressed as a Carabinieri, to prevent the professor from unravelling the mystery.

Inferno goes through the motions as Langdon and Sienna uncover hidden messages in artworks and artefacts in their attempt to avert mankind's darkest hour. Hanks' discombobulation, courtesy of his character's head injury, is symptomatic of a messy, disjointed picture that trundles along a linear path, pausing for the occasional robust set piece. Jones lends her unwitting heroine some spunk and Khan relishes his Machiavellian puppetmaster's antics, trying to clean up other people's messes.