Get ready for some wet cheese.
Synopsis: A deep-sea submersible—part of an international undersea observation program—has been attacked by a massive creature and now lies disabled at the bottom of the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean…with its crew trapped inside. With time running out, former deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor is drawn out of self-imposed exile by a visionary Chinese oceanographer, Dr. Zhang, against the wishes of his daughter, Suyin, who thinks she can rescue the crew on her own. But it will take their combined efforts to save the crew, and the ocean itself, from this seemingly unstoppable threat—a prehistoric 75-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon. Thought to be extinct, the Meg turns out to be very much alive…and on the hunt. (Warner Bros)
Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, and Rainn Wilson
Writers: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 113mins
Nothing about this film should come as a surprise for anyone who have ever seen one before. When it comes to all shark movies, Jaws is the gold standard. It’s difficult to not compare any shark movie with Jaws. In this case, it’s pretty easy since this film is for the most part, a modernized version of Jaws. The derivative nature of this film doesn’t end there as it was in line with most other B-movies except this film had a much larger budget. For a large percentage of people, this will be fine as it will surely be a hit with the “so bad it’s good” fans. For the rest, the film lacks enough redeeming qualities to be more than a “so bad it’s good” film.
If the film’s title and all the trailers aren’t enough for you, the story was about a team of scientists working at a station in the middle of the Pacific ocean who encounter a believed to be extinct, prehistoric, 75-foot-long shark known as the megalodon (The Meg is short for The Megalodon). An incident involving the megalodon forced the team to call upon deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham). The trajectory of the story was predictable at best with science going against common sense. Because of this, certain questionable character decisions had to be made to extend the story.
The film was also surprisingly long, clocking in at nearly 2 hours. In addition to the questionable script, the story simply took far too long to get going. The story consisted of three acts with the first and last acts being far better than the middle act. However, the problem with the first two acts was the lack of involvement of the megalodon. Also, the last two acts were the same but the third act went all out and embraced the cheesiness. It also happened to be represented in all the film’s promotional material. It was a shame that the film wasn’t more like the third act as it was the best part of the film.
Your enjoyment of the film will rely solely on if you are okay with the film’s overwhelming cheesiness. The dialog was mediocre at best and the film’s attempts at humor missed more often than hit. The action scenes were okay but there weren’t nearly enough of them. The film simply never could find a balance between all of these elements. While some of the elements were admittedly somewhat entertaining, the majority are cringe-worthy. Though the film could only go so far with its 14A/PG-13 rating, it could have gone much further as there was very little suspense or carnage to be had.
Despite the script and direction, the acting was okay across the board. Statham’s Taylor is the same type of character that he has played several times before so he delivered the same performance here. Basically, if you’re a fan, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. His performances have mostly been on the wooden side, however, he still managed to be compelling to watch here for whatever reason. Li as Suyin was good. However, the film placed her in a forced romantic subplot with Taylor that only exposed their lack of chemistry. Wilson as a self-absorbed billionaire named Morris was annoying and didn’t fit in the story.
Overall, this is exactly what you would expect, an overlong cheese fest of a monster film that was still somewhat entertaining at times despite its mediocre script, derivative story, and another wooden though somehow compelling Jason Statham performance. Its destiny will surely be as a so bad it’s good movie which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s appeal will be limited.
*The Meg opens in theaters starting on Friday*