One of the good things about seeing “The Meg” is that you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get. I give the filmmakers credit for not even attempting to hide what they are going for – goofy, preposterous and a whole lot of Jason Statham. It all comes down to whether it has enough fun, humor and self-awareness to keep us onboard.
Statham plays Jonas Taylor, the former head of a deep sea rescue team now ostracized after a mission goes terribly bad. Now, instead of saving people, he spends his days off the grid boozing in Thailand.
Meanwhile a billion dollar research station 200 miles off the coast of China discovers a new ecosystem below the floor of the Mariana Trench. A team descends to explore the discovery but are attacked by something really, really big leaving them stranded and with limited life support. That’s enough to bring back the blackballed Jonas to attempt a daring rescue.
“The Meg” opens a bit slowly with the rescue mission which introduces the cast of characters and reveals the not-so-surprising threat. It’s a Megalodon, the mother of all sharks and thought to be extinct for 2 million years. The rescue attempt inadvertently unleashes the beast (gulp) and its up to the team to find a way to stop it. But as Jonas proclaims in one of my favorite cheesy lines “Man versus meg isn’t a fight. It’s a slaughter”. Truer (and cornier) words have never been said.
The second half features director Jon Turteltaub fully embracing the 1950’s monster B-movie blueprint. Things get more absurd, the special effects get a lot bigger, and the story gets even more predictable. That’s not to say it isn’t fun. There are plenty of big popcorn movie moments and silly over-the-top action. And just when you think it’s taking itself too seriously, in drops a timely cheesy line of dialogue or a particularly goofy sequence.
A pretty good supporting cast helps navigate the film’s megalodon infested waters. Li Bingbing plays headstrong oceanographer Suyin who runs the research station with her father played by Winston Chao. Rainn “The Office” Wilson pops as the station’s billionaire financier and hit-or-miss comic relief. Cliff Curtis, Ruby Rose and a handful of others fill out the cadre of potential shark food.
While “The Meg” doesn’t exactly burst out of the gate and its balance between serious and self-aware is sometimes off, it still manages to do what it intends. Within its ocean of cliches, one-liners, and ridiculous man vs. sea monster set pieces is a fun and often hilarious bit of throwaway entertainment. Pay no attention to its attempts at feeling and romance. Just stay for the shark and the goofiness that ensues. That was enough for me.
VERDICT – 3 STARS
It’s Jason Statham vs. a giant shark. That’s exactly what I was hoping for, and that’s what I got. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that guy have so much fun in a movie before. It’s not going to beat Jaws as far as shark movies go. Not a chance, but it wasn’t trying to be. I personally think the film could have used quite a bit more carnage than what we got, but what we got was still pretty fun. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
That’s where I landed as well. Statham is clearly having a blast. I think it occasionally loses a little bit of the self-awareness. Still, as you were saying, it’s a fun movie.
I’ve got this in my Netflix queue, I figure it would be a decent evening watch.
It’s on Netflix? I didn’t realize that. You should definitely give it a go. Go into it looking for some goofy fun and you’ll be good.
I just didn’t see the appeal to this movie. To me, it was okay, but it was even fun. I like the cast, but it was way too thin, too much going on, and not that much entertaining.
I can definitely see that reaction. It had fun with it but there were times where it seemed to take itself too seriously.
Nice post. A unique movie. it doesn’t have memorable characters but the action is never boring.
It’s fun and that is all I was really wanting out of it. Not necessarily one I will want to watch again soon, but I’m still glad I did.
The Meg is scary. A lot of trouble ain’t she? I think she overloaded her mouth this time and she got all them people mad at her and probably going back to Fox News.
Thank you for your review! I keep on reading similar opinions on this one, but I’m still not convinced that I want to watch the movie. It looks like the sort of movie that you enjoy if you go with very low expectations: slightly better than it had any right to be, but not much more than that. Am I wrong?
That’s pretty much it. Just leave your thinking hat off and watch for the action and the absurdity of it all. There is fun to be had which makes it worth watching. Just don’t expect a lot from it.
I never had a doubt that’d enjoy this movie, and I did. It’s stupid fun – pretty much what ever single reviewer has ever said about it – and I cannot wait for the sequel where the Meg’s distant relative chases The Stath across the globe for revenge. Are we up to that point in this franchise yet? LOL
I would watch another one!
You’ve increased my interest in seeing it!
It’s a fun romp. Just don’t go in with super high expectations.
I really need to finally see it. I love Jason and I’m sure this isn’t as dumb and bad as some of the other films I watched for him 🙂
Oh yes, you should. Statham has a blast with this thing. It’s pretty funny just watching him try to be serious!