Top critical review
3 1/2 stars. Full of cliches and silliness but still a lot of fun.
Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2018
Theater review. Possible spoilers. This film is another mindless romp into the silliness of summer blockbusters. Having said that, while it doesn’t come close to “Jaws” or even “The Shallows,” it is still a pretty good shark movie. And what a shark.
Using a similar storyline we just saw a few weeks ago in “Skyscraper,” Jason Statham stars as Jonas Taylor who specializes in deep water rescues. [Fun fact: Statham was on Britain’s National Swimming Squad for 12 years and competed in the 1990 Commonwealth Games as a diver (10, 3 and 1 meter).] One of his attempts goes bad when his rescue sub is attacked by “something big” but his crew question his decisions, so off he goes to booze it up on the beaches of Thailand. Well until, he’s contacted by an old buddy named Mac (Cliff Curtis) who is working with an influential Chinese scientist, Zhang (Winston Chao) and his daughter, Suyin (Bingbing Li). They have been trying to go below the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific, believed to be the deepest water in the world. The theory is that the ocean floor is soft and that another unexplored world lies below it. An exploratory sub has proven the theory correct but they have been attacked by something and are now stranded. Oh, the sub’s pilot is Taylor’s ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee, “Battle of the Sexes”).
Needless to say, Jonas takes on the job, even with the reservations of the medical doctor on the station. Overcoming obstacles along the way, Taylor is successful but manages to open a hole, where a prehistoric and believed to be extinct, bus-sized Megalodon shark (or is it sharks?) manages to escape the deep water. The only plot point that threw me was, rather than getting chummy again with Lori, Jonas takes a liking to Suyin and her adorable 5-year old daughter, Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai). I suspect this was to keep the Chinese audience interested. This was a joint American/Chinese production and I’m betting will do better in China than in the U. S.
The cast is rounded out with Rainn Wilson as Morris the man with the money, Ruby Rose as Jaxx (sure) a technophile, Page Kennedy as DJ another techy, the “I can’t swim” kind and Olafur Darri Olafsson as “The Wall.” The film is full of clichés and so many near misses I lost count, but I have to say, I found this more fun than the aforementioned “Skyscraper.” I think I would have liked it better if they just went with the “R” rating instead of pulling their punches.