Out this week is The Meg, the film where a prehistoric mega shark faces off against the ultimate land predator, Jason Statham. Starring alongside Statham against this behemoth is Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis.
The premise of The Meg is a simple one. An oceanic science team are exploring the depths of the sea and travel to what seems like the end of the line. That is until they discover that what we have understood as the bottom of the ocean is actually a deep layer of fog. Underneath it is a whole new world, Atlantis, kidding, it’s an area of the ocean filled with creatures never before seen by man. Unfortunately one of those creatures is a megalodon aka the Meg.
When the megalodon devastates the team with its wanton destruction action man, diver, and all-around badass Jonas (Statham) rises to the challenge with his international team of misfits to take down this prehistoric monster.
Going into this film I was so excited. I wanted to see the great Jason Statham kick a gargantuan shark all the while a ridiculously over the top score accompanies him. Instead what I got was way too much talking between a lot of lacklustre actors and every now and then we’d be reminded oh yeah there’s a shark in this shark film.
There is nothing grand about The Meg. I’ll give you an example- earlier in the year Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom came out and there is an aquatic dino that traversed the depths ocean. We saw that dinosaur for approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Within those fleeting glimpses of the creature we were given a sense of scope, of grandeur, and in my opinion genuine terror. This creature felt like something otherworldly and terrifying. I didn’t want to go into the sea because of that shot of it behind that giant wave. It was brilliant.
The Meg on the other hand at times doesn’t feel bigger than a great white or even a plain jane shark. This was down to the wavering levels of quality with the CGI. At times the Meg looks great, other times it’s the getty images shark with the camera zoomed in to its max.
It doesn’t help that the cast is giving us nothing. Everyone is your stock character from a video game – Jason Statham is your all-rounder character with the best stats, Ruby Rose plays a hard as nails engineer known as Jaxx, and Rainn Wilson is the asshole billionaire so you know where his story is going. Some of the genuinely fun surprises came with Li Bingbing as Suyin and Shuya Sophia Cai as Meiying who plays her daughter. Bingbing has a decent enough chemistry with Statham but the standout star is Shuya who has the best lines in the film and has some decent acting chops outclassing the majority of the elder cast.
As I mentioned before the characters are video game archetypes which is ironic because this would be great as a virtual reality video game or a ride at Universal Studios because you don’t have to worry about plot. Unfortunately, it’s not, it’s a film and plot, compelling characters, and engaging action set pieces are required to satisfy an audience. The Meg has barely any of these prerequisites.
They say in the film, the Meg versus mankind would equal a slaughter. Sadly it’s not, instead the Meg versus mankind equals mediocre and that is the film at its very best.