The Meg is not high art but it’s fun to watch

Lil Bingbing as Suyin and Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor in The Meg Picture: PA PHOTO/WARNER BROS

Lil Bingbing as Suyin and Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor in The Meg Picture: PA PHOTO/WARNER BROS

British action star Jason Statham takes on a giant prehistoric shark in this new film from Cool Runnings director John Turteltaub.

Based on a novel by American author Steve Alten, the film was co-funded by Warner Bros and Chinese studio Gravity Pictures.

Set initially on a marine research platform off the coast of China, Statham stars as Jonas Taylor – an alcoholic former navy diver who is recruited to run an urgent rescue mission on a stricken submarine after an attack by a mysterious deep sea creature.

Having crossed swords with the mythical beast years before, Taylor is the only man for the job.

Unashamedly brash and full of colourful characters, The Meg is a B-movie with a big budget and a well made one at that.

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In true monster movie-style, director Turteltaub builds tension in the early stages while the audience gets to know the characters, before the over-the-top action begins and the giant Megalodon is revealed.

Rainn Wilson stars as the expedition’s callous ‘Elon Musk’-style benefactor and brings great energy to role.

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Page Kennedy delivers an array of amusing one-liners as DJ, and Ruby Rose is stoic and unflappable as computer expert Jaxx.

After surviving their first deep sea encounter, the team –which also includes Cliff Curtis, Robert Taylor and Chinese actress Bing Bing Li –relocate to the surface where the Meg continues to cause havoc.

The film is hokey and very silly, but Turteltaub maintains a clever balance by keeping things on the right side of the line between knowingly cheesy fun and something more cringe-worthy.

One low point is a complete lack of chemistry between Stath and Li, who struggle to sell the love interest angle between their characters.

Also, fans of more graphic monster movies may be disappointed as the films 12A certificate means, despite the subject matter, very little blood is shown on screen.

Some may argue a 15 rating would’ve given the filmmakers more license to focus on the gorier elements, but the film never takes itself that seriously.

It prefers instead to embrace the ridiculous over-the-top action that Statham is so good at.

Take a huge bucket of popcorn with you, The Meg is not high art, but it is great fun to watch.

The Meg is showing at Stowmarket Regal from Friday, August 31.

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