WARNER BROS. PICTURES (2018)

 

Director: Jon Turteltaub

 

Starring: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, Cliff Curtis

What a strange title…”The Meg

 

Jason Statham finally gets his way and the massive shark story he has wanted to adapt is here (though Disney once had their eyes on it, oddly enough). It’s the story of a prehistoric Megalodon – long thought to be extinct – that’s returned to the ocean to wreak havoc on anything that dares get in its way and there’s only one man who can stop it – Jason Statham’s rescue diver Jonas Taylor. Set within a (cool-looking) research facility in the Pacific Ocean, Stath and crew face a monster effort to send the beast back to extinction.

The idea of a movie about a 75-foot shark causing chaos and destruction sounds a bit Sharknado-ey, and The Meg had every opportunity to fall down that dark, gloomy path but, thankfully, it just keeps its head above those particular waters. It isn’t as entertaining as it could have been, though, as it struggles for a real tone throughout – it knows what it wants to be, but doesn’t quite achieve the execution. It is what it is, however, with Jason Statham being the bulked up, bald hero that everyone around him is drawn to and the shark being a bit too CGI and not quite as nasty as it could have been. Parts of the movie are great and just what you’d want, other parts, well, they…aren’t. It’s a real mixed bag for a movie that was never going to pull up any trees in the first place.

 

The Stath is all-action here, saving the day time and time again which is amazing as he seems to be devoting his time to making up different accents throughout the movie. The pleasant Li Bingbing performs admirably but the VIP is young Shuya Sophia Cai, who is both sweet and funny throughout.

 

As there are no actual Megalodon’s out there, we have to make do with a CGI version, and for the majority of the time, it doesn’t look particularly great. I’ve seen far worse, but sharky isn’t overly well done. The action in the movie is well done and generally become the highlights – the finale is fraught and frantic – but there’s not much you won’t see coming here. I’m not one to bang the drum incessantly for blood and gore, but I believe The Meg suffers from its 12A/PG-13 rating – it really did need to be 15/R. Some of the writing is iffy at best and how the story quickly leads to Stath joining the research facility is genuinely naff, but some of the shots look great (see: monster shark swimming beneath an ocean full of revellers). As mentioned, it’s definitely a mixed bag of good and bad.

 

If you were to believe The Meg was going to be an explosive, excellent action/thriller/horror then you would be wrong (and also slightly too optimistic), but if you simply want an easy movie about a killer shark tormenting rich and/or competent people, then there’s enough here to satiate your desires. Clearly ridiculous and only a bit fun, it falters and splashes but just stays afloat.

Plus, it’s no Jaws (wink wink)

July 18th 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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