It’s an unwholesome dream, a dream that has all the pieces to do with cash and nothing to do with cinema — the dream of crafting the perfect co-production that may rope in each the English-speaking and Chinese language-language markets. It’s a prospect that encourages many to maintain dropping cash into the slot machine, as a result of ultimately some film goes to hit the jackpot and get a number of individuals wealthy.

Within the meantime, chalk up “The Meg” as one other failed pull on the previous lever. It’s a drained, inert sci-fi thriller that includes a succession of escalating motion sequences that each one, by some means, fail to ignite. The cliches mount. Every little thing is predictable, not enjoyable predictable, however “are you kidding me?” predictable. Even the premise itself is a worn-out retread, not sufficiently old to be basic, simply sufficiently old to be previous: a killer shark.

However wait. That is no regular killer shark. This isn’t even an infinite killer shark. “The Meg” marks the return of the Megalodon, a prehistoric shark that’s one thing like an eight-story constructing, besides that it strikes quick and is all the time in a foul temper. In a gap scene, the Megalodon assaults a crew exploring the deep sea. Our hero, Jonas (Jason Statham), loses a number of males, however when he stories to his superiors about some mysterious big sea creature that attacked him, everyone assumes he’s nuts.

5 years cross. One other richly supported analysis operation, bankrolled by a billionaire, is exploring beforehand unknown ocean depths, when — guess what? — a shark that’s greater than the Texas Faculty Ebook Depository damages a small craft containing three crew members. Mission Management is aware of they want somebody to carry out the rescue, and they also choose Jonas, although some of their get together are nonetheless satisfied that he’s loopy.

Simply observing that “The Meg” is a lifeless, lifeless movie is straightforward. All you need to do is sit there and look ahead to 10 minutes, any 10 minutes. Determining why it’s lifeless is much less straightforward, The temptation is to say that, after “Jaws,” it’s simply not protected for different administrators to get into the water. However no, a number of good and nice films have been constituted of the identical topics and premises, again and again.

Maybe the essential factor that separates the Steven Spielberg film from this Jon Turteltaub film is that in “Jaws,” the individuals need to discover the killer shark, whereas in “The Meg” the 80-foot shark retains displaying up unexpectedly and making the actors scream. Which means the characters are, for probably the most half, passive, and once they’re not passive, they’re powerless. After all, the film does ultimately leap the shark, proper across the time when Jason Statham is made to do it, actually.

Although Chinese language star Bingbing Li is typically onerous to grasp, her charismatic display screen presence transcends the language barrier. The film devises a type of romance between her and Statham, however the overly decorous nature of their interplay is like nothing you’d usually see in an American motion movie. The film additionally incorporates father-daughter interludes that appear corny and overblown — virtually operatic — by American requirements. Whereas watching, it’s typically apparent which second is meant for which market.

The Meg

SNOOZING VIEWERSci-fi motion. Starring Jason Statham and Bingbing Li. Directed by Jon Turteltaub. (PG-13. 113 minutes.)

That is no approach to make films. It’s in all probability not even a approach to earn cash. Considered one of today, a topic might come alongside that’s an ideal match, however till then, forcing it received’t do any good for anyone.

Mick LaSalle is The San Francisco Chronicle’s movie critic. Electronic mail: [email protected] Twitter: @MickLaSalle

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