A movie like The Meg should be every bit as bloody and terrifying as it’s cult classic monster movie predecessors (Jaws, Sharknado, Piranha) but it isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, this film has a blockbuster budget, a veteran action star in Jason Statham and all the ingredients to be a brilliant summer (winter for us southern folk) hit and it’s almost there.
The film kicks off with Jonas Taylor (Statham) leading an underwater deep-sea rescue mission that goes horribly wrong when they are attacked by an unknown creature that forces Jonas to leave behind two of his crew members to save everyone else.
The ordeal leaves Jonas a washed-up drunk in a rundown bar in Thailand, labelled crazy, and a coward.
But when a submersible from the Mana One science base lies sunken at the bottom of an unknown abyss, Jonas is recruited to lead the rescue mission. The plot thickens however as we learn that the captain of the sub is Jonas’ ex-wife Lori.
Forced to face his fear of failing, and the monster he knows is lurking beneath, Jonas is thrust back into jaws of the Meg.
And what follows is the stuff of nightmares as a two million-year-old prehistoric extinct killer shark is unleashed into human infested waters.
The remainder of the film progresses as we all know it will, as the team of Mana One, led by the Jonas attempt to kill the Meg and save the world.
Where the film falls short is in its inability to sustain the tension and the stakes. The script is lacking in so many ways to the point where people in the cinema were laughing in hysterics at some of the unrealistic cliché lines. In a film like this, clichés are to be expected, but they were overdone and retracted from the authenticity of the story.
The other failure was the over populated and underutilised cast. Cliff Curtis was barely able to flex is acting chops and Ruby Rose and Rain Wilson’s characters were underdeveloped and fell more into stereotypical techie/billionaire pigeonholes.
I do have to say that the action sequences were high-impact and high-speed and were perfectly executed by Statham. And the precocious Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai) the daughter of Jonas’ love interest (Bingbing Li) spits out a supreme number of savage one-liners that are endearing and fist-pumpingly awesome all at the same time.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub (Cool Runnings, National Treasure) and loosely based on Steve Alten’s Meg series, this Jaws wannabe is definitely worth a watch. At the very least, it’s one of the best worst movies you’ll ever see. The Meg opens wide today!
Review by Isabelle Aswad