The Meg is now in theatres, bringing to life the monster from the Steve Alten novel for the big screen. To be fair, having a villain in the form of a prehistoric shark sounds something like it is meant for the SyFy channel, but Warner Bros has indeed spared no expense by delivering a big budget actioner with Jason Statham at the helm.
Jon Turtletaub (National Treasure) directs this special-effects laden underwater adventure, which opens with the introduction to Jonas Taylor (Statham) a deep-sea rescue diver who crosses path with an unknown creature during a submarine rescue. The opening sequence sets up the storyline for the film, which takes places five years later.
The Meg jumps right in revealing a high-tech marine science lab that discovers a deep trench in the Pacific Ocean. A deep sea submersible is despatched to explore this hidden world but their wonderment soon turns to terror when they encounter an attack by a mysterious creature. Eager to help save his crew, visionary Chinese oceanographer (Winston Chao), despite his daughter Suyin’s (Li Bingbing) disapproval, sets out to trace Taylor to orchestrate a rescue.
However, the rescue itself goes awry when the rescue team and the crew discover that the attack was perpetrated by a Megalodon, a giant prehistoric shark thought to be extinct. And worse still, they have inadvertently led the beast up from its lair into open waters.
The film soon turns into a cat and mouse game with the science crew embarking on a chase to hunt down the beast, unbeknownst to them that are in fact prey for the mighty creature. With Statham and Bingbing leading the charge, the rest of the supporting crew earn their paycheque by becoming chum for the Meg.
This ultimately is the big problem with the film. The CGI-Megalodon should be the star of the show but it has to share screen time with its human co-stars, most of whom don’t really have a point other than to provide comic relief or become fodder for the giant shark.
Statham and Bingbing are in the lead of this show and although it does have some gritty nail-biting moment, expected shockers and startling moments, the true appeal of the film is narrowed simply down to the shark that devours everything.
The Meg lives up to its billing of a B-movie monster feature with some cheesy acting, jokes and action sequences, but overall it suffers from too many distractions from its human cast. It is fun to watch though, but ultimately, despite its sheer size, The Meg comes up short compared to shark-centric classics like JAWS, Deep Blue Sea and The Shallows.
Popcorn Rating: Bland with occasional sweet spots.