Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writers: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
After a submersible is attacked by a mysterious creature and lies stranded at the bottom of an unexplored part of the ocean, there is only one man that can lead the rescue; Jonas Taylor (Statham) who himself has already come face to face with this mysterious creature – a 70-foot prehistoric shark thought to be extinct for a million years.
On paper surely the concept of Jason Statham Vs A Giant Prehistoric Shark cannot fail?!? Well, it can if you get the tone of the film wrong, and despite its marketing suggesting otherwsie, that is predominantly the problem with The Meg; it is nowhere near as intentionally daft as it should be, nor indeed is it anywhere near as gory as a film like this should be. Instead it is somewhere in the disappointing middle, and though it is watchable enough, it is nowhere near engaging enough to justify its serious tone.
There is certainly a surplus of these kind of films out there at the moment, and no matter what budget or famous faces it has at its disposal, there is no getting away from the fact that The Meg does find itself in direct competition with the likes of Sharknado, Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus, Mega Piranha, even 2, 3, 5 and 6-Headed Shark Attack and indeed the rest of the endless list of films often produced by the likes of The Asylum that are on the Sci-fi channel. Indeed, while watching I also could not help comparing it to Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (though thankfully The Meg has nothing to compare to that infamous line that John Barrowman uses to seduce a woman – anyone who has scene this film will be very much aware of the line that I am talking about!). However, that one awful line from John Barrowman is actually far more memorable than anything in The Meg. All involved in The Meg do seem to have illusions of grandeur in terms of the film that they think they are trying to make, and it is only to its detriment.
The fact is that a vast majority of us see these kinds of films to see innocent bystanders meet horrible, gory deaths at the hand of these (often giant) CGI creatures, and if the CGI is actually half decent then that is a bonus. French director Alexandre Aja certainly went for this angle with his intentionally trashy Piranha 3D, but those involved with The Meg have gone for a far more stoic and serious tone. So, despite having some decent CGI and action sequences put together by director Jon Turteltaub, The Meg is overall a rather dull and forgettable watch due to its flat script which features forgettable, cliched characters that we do not care about, while avoiding characters having the gory deaths that we all want by cynically deciding to go for a 12A certificate.
This is a huge waste of potential, as if The Meg was willing to have some fun, take some risks and be prepared to brutally kill both its main characters and innocent bystanders then it could have been tremendous fun. What is most disappointing is the fact that the casting of the leading man gave so much potential; whether he be having fisticuffs with bad guys that are twice his size or indeed giant prehistoric sharks, Jason Statham is a very watchable and charismatic screen presence with a great sense of comic delivery and this film is a real waste of his strengths as an actor as he gets hardly any comic lines to sink his teeth into (trust me, that abysmal pun is funnier than anything in the film). Even when the plot is either ridiculous or just downright bad, Statham’s natural charisma and penchant for a great one-liner usually makes his films enjoyable fun, but I must admit that I feel that Jason has let me down this time.
Perhaps having a big budget is actually the main problem; having studio bigwigs write big cheques and therefore breathing down the neck of everyone and restricting any kind of creativity (it even obeys the classic rule of all blockbusters that involves our canine friends!) has produced this middling mess of a film. The Meg should have been dumb fun, but though it is quite dumb, it is nowhere near as much fun as it should be, and so anyone who wants to see a film starring giant sea-monsters and actually have a laugh doing so is better of flicking over to the Sc-Fi channel – sorry Jason!
Despite having some impressive action sequences, The Meg seems to forget what kind of film it actually is, and so is nowhere near as fun or enjoyable as it is should be and is ultimately a rather dull and forgettable experience.