Film Review – The Meg


DIRECTED BY: Jon Turtletaub

STARRING: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, Cliff Curtis, Shuya Sophia Cai, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jessica McNamee and Masi Oka

 

SYNOPSIS

After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

The Meg focuses on expert sea diver and Naval Captain Jonas Taylor taking on a mission in the unexplored recesses of the Mariana Trench when he’s forced to abort and abandon a few members of his crew due to an unknown threat, leading to a tragic incident that results in him being dishonourably discharged. Five years later, Jonas is called back into action, either it be a suicide mission or a shot at redemption, as a submersible lies disabled at the bottom of the ocean, which they believe he can be the only one to save them, leading to them discovering that the Megalodon exists and is not as extinct as they believed.

The Meg sees Jason Statham and company going up against a prehistoric shark long believed to have been extinct millions of years ago. We witness a rescue mission led by Jonas Taylor to save a group of sailors trapped inside a nuclear submarine. When the mission ends in tragic circumstances, Five years after being dismissed by his claims that a giant creature below he surface caused he disaster, he’s recruited by Dr. Minway Zhang and James ‘Mac’ Mackreides to save their crew trapped in a submersible as they believe they’ve been attacked by a similar creature that Jonas described.

 

Jason Statham is charming as leading man Jonas Taylor here, especially whenever he’s sharing the screen with young child actress Shuya Sophia Cai as Meiying, who is also good here also. Out of all the actors here, it’s Rainn Wilson that seems to understand what kind of film he’s in and provides a few laughs as the billionaire that owns the underwater research facility. Li Bingbing is also solid as Suyin Zhang. The special effects of the Megalodon were good as well.

 

While the film is predictable, the worst aspect about it is just how flat The Meg feels. Besides it’s runtime being at least twenty minutes too long, the PG-13 rating makes sure that the film doesn’t go too crazy with the gory demises of human beings, though kids and dogs will be spared to keep audiences happy and the concept of a prehistoric shark isn’t developed further in that territory compared to shark films that we’ve seen before. There’s a forced ‘will they/won’t they’ romance subplot there because a few characters think, yeah, both of you should get together. Outside of Statham and Wilson characters, there’s no real depth or memorability for the rest of the cast to bring to the table, besides the final act of the film where Page Kennedy’s character eventually has a mental breakdown and it’s played for laughs but it comes off as cheap. As for character demises, every single one is telegraphed from the way the camera angle is setup, to if you’re a character that has about five to ten lines of dialogue, chance are you’re a goner pretty soon. While the CGI of the Megalodon was done well, there’s some pretty bad effects, especially in one scene set on Mana One the green screen is so notice I found it incredibly distracting as a few characters have an important conversation amongst themselves.

 

VERDICT

The Meg tries to blend the big, dumb, fun of the premise whilst also trying to be serious in it’s setup and also making you care for the characters on screen to the point that it just fell completely flat for me. Statham tries to carry the film on his shoulders and while Rainn Wilson is given some moments to add some laughs and Li Bingbing is given an arc, the rest of the cast of characters are largely forgettable. I’m still baffled that The Meg cost around $150m…..$150m!!!??? I wonder if the studio will ever allow the original cut that Turtletaub intended will ever be released down the line?  3/10

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