Under its B series airs, En Eaux Troubles has a colossal budget, and is very successful in the United States and China. But is it the expected summer thrill?
Like space, the ocean remains a land of cinematic fantasies. A film, Les Dents de la Mer , was enough to transform it into a horrific and mysterious theater. And if other feature films have been able to grasp the keys to the terror that can be associated with it ( Abyss , Open Water, etc.), underwater fauna has above all offered an immense reservoir of scripts to a host of opportunistic nanars. This is the problem with large areas, they attract everyone.
In these conditions, difficult not to welcome In troubled waters with a bleak eye. Especially since the scenario leaves little room for doubt. During an expedition in the Mariana Trench, 11,000 meters deep, a submarine is attacked by a gigantic creature. Researchers quickly realize that they are dealing with a Megalodon, a huge shark that has been extinct for two million years. Rescuer Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) will in turn descend to rescue them.
This series B script, held by an actor (alas) specialist in the field, clashes on one point: its budget. Its 150 million dollars allow it indeed to display special effects of good quality, and to take off against the misshapen creatures of The Asylum. The beast is realistic and allows you to forget a rather bland staging, which allows itself little madness in the face of the excessiveness of its subject.
Obviously too aware of directing the most expensive shark film in cinema history, Jon Turteltaub delivers a product marked to the extreme, who never wants to choose between realism or farce, gore or innuendo.
During the first hour, he tries to increase the pressure by saving the appearance of the monster. But what Gareth Edward had managed to do with the last Godzilla doesn’t work here, with Statham constantly defusing the tension with clumsy humor. He is not really helped by a cast of second knives placed here and there by the American-Chinese production of the film.
The director still splits a few pleasant scenes, calibrated to convince the youngest or fans of the British actor. But here again, we do not always know on which foot to dance. A successful dive in a shark cage suddenly turns into an unlikely sea tow that the hero of Hypertension (played by… Jason Statham) would not deny .
En Eaux Troubles never ceases to impose its own limits. This is also felt in the portrayal of violence, frankly timid. The Megalodon devours everything in its path, but in the end we don’t see much. Those who had come for the delightful butcher’s shop of a 3D Piranha (Alexandre Aja, 2010) will be disappointed.
The film never really wants to make fun of itself, as if it has to justify its price tag to moviegoers. And that’s a shame. If not to scare, we might as well make us laugh.