The Meg

I thought this might be a film about an out of control Meg Ryan, or at least a dance based on her fake orgasm in Katz’s Deli, but alas no – it’s When Jason Statham met Giant Shark…

And indeed what can possibly go wrong with the Stath vs a prehistoric megalodon, awoken from the deep by a billionaire marine explorer?

Stathe is a deep sea rescue expert, called in from drunken retirement – what with Jon Hamm in the Negotiator, there’s a lot of that about this week – in Thailand, to a sea research station when an exploratory sub is left mangled by “something huge”.

Down goes the former diver turned action star, daredevil as ever yet still ready with the full array of eyebrow raised reaction shots and grunted one-liners.

I started a little sweepstake as to what minute into the film the Stath would take his top off, as that seems the contractual obligation in his movies, why they pay him the mega bucks. I won’t ruin it, but it’s a bit later than I’d thought.

As for the shark, well it’s a big’ un all right, but not very scary. Perhaps we see too much of it, when, as Jaws always demonstrates, less is more in shark movies…

I have quibbles with that shark, and with a rather idiotic black character that feels like lazy, outdated comic relief to me… 

That said, there are plenty of decently corny lines: “ Man vs Meg isn’t a fight, it’s a slaughter “ and “That living fossil ate my friend” – and there are some hairily silly action moments for the Stath to get his teeth into with his characteristically grim insouciance…it’s a perfectly fun time for a summer popcorn movie, but lacks that extra layer of wit and peril that make the best monster movies…

And, on an interesting industry note, this is very much the future of Hollywood blockbusters as there are several Chinese characters to entice that growing market of both audience and co-finance, including a love interest, all-action marine biologist single mum played by Li Bing Bing, and a climax in the swanky Chinese beach resort of Sanya Bay, where the mass of humans in inflatables looks like so much fish food for the in-coming Meg. 

The Meg may be prehistoric, but the movie is the shape of such things to come…