A deep sea submersible pilot revisits his past fears in the Mariana Trench, and accidentally unleashes the seventy foot ancestor of the Great White Shark believed to be extinct.
Naturally, no summer would be complete without a glossy, action-packed blockbuster or two for the theater goers among us to gasp over, right? Creature feature fans, not to mention people that have been patiently waiting decades for the next Jaws, have been especially excited for the recent premiere of The Meg. But is The Meg really worth your hard-earned cash and limited spare time or is it more likely to leave you feeling all wet?
The Meg stars everyone’s favorite antihero, Jason Statham (The Fate of the Furious, Cellular) and is directed by Jon Turteltaub. It’s also loosely based on Steve Alten’s chilling 1997 novel Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror. The plotline follows the story of Jonas Taylor (Statham), a rescue diver on a mission to take on a modern day megalodon. The megalodon is a massive prehistoric shark previously preserved (and safely incarcerated) underneath an icy sheet of hydrogen sulfide in the deepest depths of the ocean. At roughly 70 feet long, the megalodon is imposing enough to give even Jaws a run for his money and now that it’s loose, it’s up to Jonas and his team to put it out of commission for good.
On the one hand, The Meg is exactly what you’d expect from a movie that can more or less be summed up with the phrase “Jason Statham fights a shark”. Statham is in fine action hero form as Jonas Taylor and is definitely a formidable foe for the titular prehistoric shark. The Meg is certainly a fun choice for movie fans that are really in the mood for a summer action flick, but it fails to really become anything more, leaving many filmgoers underwhelmed.
To begin with, the screenplay is tepid, lackluster, and packed with action movie clichés that might leave you groaning if you came to the theater hoping for something that actually thinks outside the box. (Think phrases you’ve heard hundreds of times before like “we got this” and “there’s something out there”.) In fact, the screenplay and its “been there, done that” dialogue really stops Jason Statham from shining in his role to the extent fans of his work know he’s capable of.
The Meg also leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the believability of not only the plot, but some of the practical details as well. Naturally, most people probably didn’t expect an action movie about a prehistoric shark to be airtight from a scientific standpoint, but The Meg will definitely leave you with some questions about the likelihood of a few things including the biological design of the megalodon itself. You won’t be asked to swallow any Sharknado-level hilarity by any means, but be warned that The Meg is probably closer to that end of the shark movie scale than it is the iconic Jaws.
If you’re going to see the film mostly for the big, thrilling shots of the monster shark, The Meg definitely delivers on that front. You’ll be treated to plenty of heart-stopping shots of the ferocious meg speeding toward the screen at breakneck speed and lots of unwitting victims being shark-stalked on a level that will leave you biting your nails. Also, Jason Statham turns in a wonderful performance that will certainly leave his fans feeling like they got what they came to the theater for. We liked that The Meg brings stars like Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, and Ruby Rose along for the ride as well (although the romantic chemistry between Statham and Bingbing left us somewhat cold).
So should you make the trip to the theater to see The Meg? It really depends on what you’re looking to get out of the experience. Fine cinema or the 21st century answer to Jaws it’s definitely not. However, it does deliver some incredibly cool action sequences and performances you’ll enjoy if you’re a fan of any of its stars. It’s definitely the type of enjoyable film that’s ideal for taking a date to or seeing with a group of good friends. It’s not likely to go down in cinema history as a monster flick classic by any means, but for a fun summer thrill or two, it’s well worth seeing.