Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Shuya Sophia Cai, Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson
After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor (Statham) must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible. (Source: IMDb)
Shark movies generally fall under two categories these days. They either take themselves so seriously that they fail to lean into the ridiculousness of their respective premises, or they just go all out in trying to be as bad as possible, and outdo each other in terms of terribleness!
The Meg is neither of these. But yet also both of these. It is a film which leans hard on its ridiculous premise, whilst exhibiting a faux-seriousness that only lends itself to heightening the insanity. It is a film which simultaneously presents itself in glorious deadpan, all whilst having its tongue very firmly in its gaping jaws. This is a film that knows exactly what it is doing, and boy is it a fun ride!
The Meg has a glorious, trashy B-monster movie vibe which clashes wonderfully with Jason Statham’s stereotypical put-upon-Action-guy. Playing this with a straight face is absolutely the right move, but you can also tell he is having huge amounts of fun with this movie. These are the roles he is made for and whilst for many it would be a difficult balance to strike, he nails it perfectly. Statham, like everyone else in the cast, knows exactly what type of movie they are in, and they never pretend it to be anything else.
It ticks off pretty much every action movie trope you could think of, it is predictable every single step of the way, the premise is beyond ridiculous. And I LOVED IT. Many critics will pick apart the way it is made, the questionable acting, the script, the plot-holes, but come on, this is a movie about a giant prehistoric shark. The movie you want is exactly the movie you get, and The Meg is a gargantuan crowd-pleaser of a film.
The runtime absolutely flies by, and it succeeds in steadily building the anticipation of seeing the megaladon for the first time. The “jump” scares (and yes those air quotes are needed!) come crashing in with all the grace of a giant 70-foot shark and you’ll see each one coming a mile away; yet you’ll still find yourself falling hook line and sinker for every one. The character deaths and narrow escapes are also predictable, and push the already non-existent suspension of disbelief beyond anything you’d think possible.
Of course, there are many things you could critique about this film, but this is the sort of film that takes those criticisms, plays up to them and says “you don’t like it? Well chomp on this!”
I saw this movie and you should too. As pure, brainless, escapist entertainment, The Meg succeeds in just about every way, and is easily one of the most enjoyable shark movies in recent years. As a film, the star rating would be down in the depths, but as pure entertainment value? 5 giant shark fins out of 5.