Jason Statham is there to keep interest levels just out of the boring zone during the flat spells.
Jason Statham is there to keep interest levels just out of the boring zone during the flat spells. Daniel Smith/Warner Bros

Is this the year’s most irresistibly shonky action movie?

ABOUT 300 kilometres off the coast of Shanghai, a two-million-year-old giant shark is happily living on the ocean floor.

Until he is rudely disturbed by scientists. So he unhappily makes tracks for shallower waters to file a complaint. And then rudely bites anything with a pulse, or wearing a swimsuit.

At this juncture, I should point out that The Meg is not a documentary. I repeat, The Meg is not a documentary.

 

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Watch out Jason, that two-million-year-old giant shark doesn’t look happy.
Watch out Jason, that two-million-year-old giant shark doesn’t look happy.

However, The Meg just might be the biggest, dumbest and irresistibly shonky action movie of the year.

The one and only Jason Statham is all that stands between the preposterously large prehistoric predator shredding mankind into mince.

Jase must repel the finned foe with his extensive repertoire of scowls, squints, grimaces and grunts and knows how to make this junk rattle as it should.

Page Kennedy, Ruby Rose, Li Bingbing, Jason Statham and Cliff Curtis draw short straws to see who will be eaten first.
Page Kennedy, Ruby Rose, Li Bingbing, Jason Statham and Cliff Curtis draw short straws to see who will be eaten first.


And it all starts with keeping a straight face while letting us know in other ways The Meg won't be under consideration come Oscars time.

As for Mr Statham's co-star, well, the special effects that govern his appearance are not always convincing.

But when the big bad (to use his full name) Megalodon is terrorising small girls and even smaller dogs, the guilty-pleasure factor in play forgives all.

Don’t worry, he’s just yawning.
Don’t worry, he’s just yawning.


A few side notes regarding the Megalodon, which may or may not enhance your viewing pleasure.

On the plus side, the sheer size of this marine mean machine is something to behold. It is definitely bigger than any dinosaur that went rogue in the last Jurassic Park, but maybe a touch smaller than Dwayne Johnson's albino ape pal in Rampage.

On the negative side, the Megalodon ain't got much of a personality. I know that isn't the be-all and end-all for a shark movie, but he does experience something of an identity crisis in some quieter sections of the story.

Put it this way, whenever the Meg is taking a breather, it is sometime hard to care whether he is coming back or not.

That's a big fish.
That's a big fish.

Luckily, during these flat spells, Statham is there to keep interest levels just out of the boring zone. Not only with some truly wince-inducing one-liners, but also due to some rather awkward interactions with his C-list co-stars.

At a running time of almost two hours, it could be argued The Meg goes way too close to outstaying its welcome. However, the movie's boldest, stoo-pidest and best moves are saved for the end, so hang in there if you find it is getting the better of you midway through.

 

THE MEG (M)

 

Rating: FOUR stars (4 out of 5)

 

Director: Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure)

 

Starring: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Winston Chao, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy.

 

Sometimes you've just gotta bite for your rights

 

 

 

 

 



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