Friday, August 10, 2018

The Meg - Review

A strange fascination with sharks has almost become an obsession for humans recently, but it’s been that way for Hollywood since Jaws basically invented the summer blockbuster. Since then, filmmakers have been trying to capture even half of the greatness of the 1975 film, and while some get closer than others, most miss the mark. While The Meg doesn’t even sniff the upper echelon, it’s inherent stupidity could bring some enjoyment.

A massive creature attacks a deep-sea submersible, leaving it disabled and trapping the crew at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. With time running out, rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) must save the crew and the ocean itself from an unimaginable threat -- a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon.

Fortunately, The Meg does not take itself seriously. It understands what it is, a cheap B-movie that somehow got a $150 million budget instead of a Saturday release on the SyFy channel. The story follows the same beats as any monster movie: scientists explore someplace they shouldn’t, disturb a large creature, and then subsequently release said creature onto an unsuspecting world. The plot progression is extremely typical, to the point that almost every action is predictable once the third act rolls around.

It isn’t high art, but then again, who expected it to be? The real problem for most of the movie is the lack of logic. The Meg relies upon a 75-foot shark being completely unnoticed by multiple people until its right on top of them far too much, including a beach scene that is laughably bad. Understanding that this is a film so schlocky it belongs in the 90s certainly alleviates some of the films mistakes, but they’re certainly there even if the product is a pile of dumb fun. 

Dumb fun might as well have been the film’s tagline. Either that, or something along the lines of Jason Statham v a Shark. Statham feels at home in this film, an over-the-top film where he can be the hero even against a 75-foot shark. He gets to show a bit of a lighter side here, and even has some great back and forth with Meiying, played by Shuya Sophia Cai, as the daughter of his potential, and forced, love interest Suyin, played by Li Bingbing. Most of the characters are stereotypical types, but the interacts are engaging enough to maintain audience attention while the shark is off screen.

The Meg is big, stupid, and kind of fun for the film it’s trying to be, though somehow not dumb enough. It falls somewhere between the decent shark films that take themselves serious and the schlock of the Sharknado franchise, in the enjoyable range of unmemorable, but entertaining. There are tons of glaring issues, but to sit and pick apart a movie that involves a Megaladon sneaking up on numerous unsuspecting victims while Jason Statham attempts to hunt it down would be a waste of everyone’s time. If you’re looking to see something that’s mindless and inconsequential before summer ends, watch The Meg.

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