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The Meg
3/5
dir Jon Turteltaub
scr Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
prd Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Belle Avery, Colin Wilson
with Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Winston Chao, Cliff Curtis, Ruby Rose, Robert Taylor, Page Kennedy, Shuya Sophia Cai, Jessica McNamee, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Masi Oka
release US/UK 10.Aug.18
18/US Warner 1h53
The Meg
He's behind you! Statham

li wilson rose
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Meg A preposterously huge action movie with a sense of humour: this is basically the perfect summer blockbuster. It demands absolutely nothing of its audience, merrily filling the silly plot with cliches, while stirring in unnecessary romance and some proper tension. Director Jon Turteltaub somehow manages to keep all of this in control, knowing that it's always wise to rely on the cheesy heroics of Jason Statham.

As Dr Zhang (Chao) readies his enormous research laboratory off the coast of China, his financier Jack (Wilson) helicopters in for a look. Meanwhile, three crewmates (McNamee, Olafsson and Oka) are taking a sub to the bottom of the Mariana Trench to verify a hypothesis that there's more life deeper down. Sure enough, they become stranded. So Zhang's sidekick Mac (Curtis) calls in jaded rescue-expert Jonas (Statham) to help. But all of this has stirred up a megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark that heads to the surface to cause a lot more havoc.

The script hilariously layers in little details, such as the fact that one of the trapped divers is Jonas' ex-wife. And the lab's doctor (Taylor) has a grudge against Jonas over the rescue shown in the prolog. Of course, sparks fly between Jonas and Zhang's marine-life expert daughter Suyin (Li), whose precocious 8-year-old daughter Meiying (Cai) also lives at the lab. There's also a hacker (Rose) who looks like a videogame character and a teammate (Kennedy) who can't swim. But of course, this is all about The Stath taking on The Meg.

Statham has fun with the role, stripping off for the requisite post-shower scene before diving into yet another insane bit of shark-chomping craziness. His chemistry with each costar is terrific, adding a bit of life to Li's rather icy character and bouncing enjoyably against a supporting cast of scene-stealers like Wilson and Olafsson. The range of characters is likeable, offering plenty of witty texture to the general chaos.

And what chaos! The filmmakers delight in playing bait and switch, as it were, leading the audience into one scenario only to flip it into something absolutely mad. This adds entertaining levels of suspense to each set-piece, as it's clear that moments of comical relief merely signpost another whopping attack by this monster from the deep. So as the mayhem heads toward an overcrowded beach in China, we're more than ready to laugh and scream and groan, all at the same time.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 7.Aug.18

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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