FOLLOWING The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, it seemed all but inevitable that the third chapter in Dan Brown's series, 2009's The Lost Symbol, would be the next to receive a film treatment.
But despite receiving the green light from Sony, the film never happened.
In the middle of the process, it was suddenly announced that Sony would instead adapt Brown's latest book, 2013's Inferno, with director Ron Howard returning alongside Tom Hanks, reprising his role as Professor Robert Langdon.
It was a strange circumstance and in all honesty, the mystery of why this movie got made or even why the talented duo of Howard and Hanks would want to return to the franchise in the first place is far more interesting than any mystery contained within Inferno.
This time, Langdon is in a race to save the world from international terrorist Zobrist: a billionaire convinced that the world's overpopulation problem is urgent enough that he devises a new plague, designed to wipe out 99% of the Earth's population.
The film opens with Langdon in hospital, discovering that he has amnesia after receiving a head wound and struggling to regain his memories.
His mind obviously being his greatest asset, it was kind of interesting to see how the story would play out, given this new challenge, but it's never used creatively.
Instead, his memories come back exactly when the plot demands it and most of the actual problem-solving has been replaced by chase sequences and a threat so cartoonishly over the top that it would have been far more at home in a '90s James Bond movie.
Considering that The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons were hardly as good as the talent involved would suggest, it can't be too surprising that Inferno is as unappealing as it is.
But after all this time, it would have been refreshing at least to take a step forward and try something interesting.
Instead, Inferno feels like a step back.
STARS: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy.
DIRECTOR: Ron Howard
VERDICT: 1.5/5 stars
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