ON paper, The Meg looks like the perfect recipe for a rollicking B-grade romp.
A gigantic prehistoric shark swimming amok among beach frolickers as beef-cake lead Jason Statham spouts a few cheesy lines while hunting it down – how could it go wrong?
But this Deep Blue Sea wannabe is barely a notch above Sharknado – without the self-deprecating awareness.
After rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) claims a giant creature caused an explosion during a disastrous mission that cost the lives of a couple of his colleagues, he is shunned and retreats to Thailand.
Five years later, Jonas is reluctantly called out to an underwater research facility called Mana One, financed by billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) and headed by Doctor Minway Zhang (Winston Chao).
During a deep sea exploration, Jonas’ ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) and her team run into some trouble and he has just hours to get them back But a breach in a cloud of hydrogen sulfide, forming a thermocline, allows a very hungry Megalodon to surface.
Having been in various stages of development since the 1990s, The Meg clearly shows it with a prehistoric script stuck in a ’90s time warp that would ordinarily have gone direct-to-video.
But the worst crime this movie commits is being dull and occasionally boring.
Long, repetitive, with pacing issues and no sense of momentum, this low-key adventure treads water for chunks of time between toothless action sequences and little carnage.
Reportedly intended to be a more violent gorefest but cut down to appeal to a broader audience, it also shows, because director Jon Turteltaub clearly was not focused on building suspense or tension.
What could have been mega fun turns out to be a gigantic turkey.
The Meg (M)
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
One and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now