Film review: The Meg is a forgettable and dull science fiction horror

Lil Bingbing as Suyin and Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor.

Lil Bingbing as Suyin and Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor. Picture :PA PHOTO/WARNER BROS PICTURES/DANIEL SMITH

Sharks have long proved to be particularly popular, non-human threats in many an ocean or island bound adventure.

They terrorised Chief Brody and the inhabitants of Amity Island in Jaws (1975), menaced Thomas Jane and Saffron Burrows in Deep Blue Sea (1999), bored audiences into a deep slumber in the Sharknado franchise (2013-present) and now, with Jon Turteltaub’s latest feature, they arrive in the waters of Shanghai to chomp on Jason Statham and a bored-looking supporting cast.

Largely set in underwater research facility Mana One, the film sees a group of scientists accidentally awaken the vast titular prehistoric predator. Thus begins a race against time to stop it from eating everyone in its path.

Despite its promising premise, The Meg is sadly not the gore-splashing, enjoyably ludicrous, tongue-in-cheek affair some may have been hoping for.

Turteltaub instead offers us a series of boring, thinly-written expositional scenes and a number of largely uninventive set-pieces – mostly involving various cast members looking unconvincingly scared and fleeing the poorly computer rendered antagonist - that have neither the gut-wrenching terror nor emotional impact a film like this needs in order for it to work.

That said, it is hard not to smile at billionaire Jack Morris’ (Rainn Wilson) farcical attempt to fell the shark going disastrously wrong or at the sight of rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) facing down his aquatic adversary in the over-cranked climax. But these are small, glimmering highlights in an otherwise forgettable and dull science fiction horror.

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