PROFESSOR Robert Langdon is back.

But this time bestselling author Dan Brown’s character is more Jason Bourne in a blazer than a Harvard academic unravelling the codes locked in religious iconography.

Director Ron Howard returns to The Da Vinci Code series with Inferno.

The plot focuses on an extremist called Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster).

He believes the world is at a crisis point and the only way to save humanity is by wiping out half of the world’s population with a deadly virus.

After waking up in a hospital room in Florence with no memory of what has occurred for the last few days, Langdon (Tom Hanks) suddenly finds himself caught in the middle and the target of a manhunt as he goes on the run with plucky doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones).

There are a couple of decent twists but Inferno eschews the brains of the first two films of the series for something more action orientated.

Some scenes come across as something you would more likely see in The Terminator while Howard uses apocalyptic visions to pad out the film and distract from the flimsy plot.

At times it seems like Howard, behind Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon, did not know whether he wanted to make an action film, a horror or a thriller.

It is also hard to suspend your disbelief when Langdon goes from suffering from amnesia to being back to genius level within the space of about an hour in film terms.

One minute he can’t remember the word for coffee, the next he remembers every minute detail of Dante’s Inferno.

Switch off your brain and there is popcorn fun to be had but that is about it.

Hanks and Jones, fast becoming the go-to actress for big budget films, make an enjoyable pairing but there is little chemistry.

Meanwhile, Irrfan Khan steals the show as Harry Sims, a fixer from a shadowy agency.

RATING: 5.5/10