A jawsome but forgettable summer blockbuster
Jason Statham battles a 70-foot prehistoric shark after scientists working out of deep-sea research facility, Mana One, accidentally awaken it from the ocean depths in this, the summer's major popcorn flick — bloody scientists!
A "does what it says on the tin" kind of film, The Meg harbours no surprises: there's no deeper meaning to be found here, no emotional poignancy to observe. What there is, however, is almost 2-hours of non-stop shark-on-Statham action. Yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds, but I found it rather entertaining.
Statham's character, Jonas, is joined by Lori Taylor (Jessica McNamee), as his ex-wife, Suyin (Bingbing Li), as Jonas' love interest, Zhang (Winston Chao), her father, and Mac (Cliff Curtis), an old friend, amongst others.
The cast, on the whole, is fine, with Rainn Wilson's, Morris – the millionaire financier of Mana One research station – and Ruby Rose's, Jaxx – the stations' engineer – particularly finding their own niche.
Jason Statham is clearly having fun in his role, and to his credit, he never takes any of it too seriously; managing to deliver his lines in a humorous and comically well-timed manner. Taking itself too seriously, however, is a problem the film and several of the actors suffer from occasionally: whether this is a case of actors misinterpreting a scene or an issue with the script itself I wouldn't like to say, but it is a problem at times; resulting in more than a few eye-rolling moments.
There are plenty of narrative issues present also: aside from a derivative plot, the film suffers from a plethora of plot holes and its inability to decide how to represent the titular creature: should it be a monstrous killing machine, like in Jaws, or merely as an animal, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, similar to King Kong.
In the end, Megalodon comes off seeming more monstrous, which is fine, but the film's earlier indecision on the subject leads to the movie feeling disjointed in places.
Visually, The Meg is typical of the genre; perfectly adequate special effects, but lacking any of the visually stunning set-pieces, vistas, or "eye-protein" present in so many other releases. The Megalodon itself looks very impressive though, and for a movie of this type that's really all that matters.
There's really not an awful lot to say about The Meg, it is what it is, and if you've seen any of Jason Statham's previous work you likely know what to expect. And whilst the film is deeply flawed, there's good fun to be had in the 113-minute runtime: the gags are well-delivered, the dialogue is delightfully cheesy, and the visuals are pleasing. There's nothing controversial about The Meg, there's nothing remarkable about it either. It is then a perfectly average film, one which I suspect at the end of its cinematic release will be quickly forgotten, but not before accumulating a healthy profit.