Hail To The Teeth
Empire Australasia|June 2018

In a year of Infinity Wars and Han going Solo, The Meg is here to gobble up more popcorn than any other fish in the sea. But will Jason Statham actually punch the shark? 

Andrew Lowry

Even though sharks launched the modern blockbuster with Jaws, they’ve found it hard to shake off the cheese factor in pretty much everything they’ve appeared in since then. They stayed big, but the stars they menaced have definitely got smaller. 

What’s an apex predator to do? Brush up on the classics and build some cred in fringe theatre? 

Nope. 

This year, The Meg is here to show that you can have your space tyrants and men in capes, but if you absolutely, positively want to be entertained, only a shark will do — and if the shark in question is a prehistoric holdover twice the size of a bus, all the better. 

Which prompts the question: “Did you see the tooth?”

It’s 2016, and Empire is on the set of The Meg. It’s all anyone can ask, from stars Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson and Ruby Rose, to director Jon Turteltaub, to the friendly PR people. They’re all so excited, it’s hard not to form the impression that instead of a Hollywood crew, a platoon of North Face-clad dentists has descended upon Auckland, New Zealand.

Before long, super-producer Barrie ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Osborne mosies over. “Take a look at this,” he says with a smile on his face, and passes us a fossilised tooth big enough to serve a roast on. It’s from the extinct megalodon shark, and it’s huge.

As Osborne rattles off some Megalo-facts, it’s hard not to be more than a bit impressed by the size, and even more glad these 20-metre-long creatures are long extinct.

What The Meg presupposes, Eli Cash-style, is this: what if they weren’t?

You probably saw the trailer when it dropped in April — tagline “Pleased to eat you” — and chances are, like us you’ll have fallen in love at first sight with this beautiful, mad, preposterous slice of grade-A hokum. Thought Deep Blue Sea was too sombre and gritty? This is the film — scratch that, movie — for you.

The premise is sublime in its popcorn perfection: Jason Statham runs the show on an underwater research facility that discovers a lost kingdom underwater, where a host of aquatic animals thought extinct have persisted. One of them, of course, is a megalodon — or, to be more precise, two of them, given we’re dealing with a mother/ daughter pair. We don’t want to shock you, but there’s a chance one of them might escape to the surface to snack on unsuspecting bathers (and, per the trailer, a small dog).

Now, we know what you’re thinking. Is The Meg secretly a delivery system for ‘Jason Statham: Sharkpuncher’?

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