The shark attack thriller genre has become quite popular recently,
thanks to the Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” (highlighted by their ridiculous “Sharknado” movies). 2016’s “The Shallows” (one of my favorite in the genre) and last year’s
“47 Meters Down” both had a feast out of their opening weekend box office battles. Now, one of the best action stars on the planet squares-off against a gigantic titan of the sea in “The Meg”.
A Megalodon is a 60-foot, prehistoric species of shark thought to have been extinct for millions of years. In “The Meg”, a group of scientists discover that one of these creatures has been in hiding deep in the ocean. Jason Statham, the hard as nails star of the “Fast and the Furious” and “Mechanic” franchises, must dive in and save the day when this monster goes on the attack.
Director Jon Turtletaub (“National Treasure”) has admitted being “disappointed” with aspects of the final cut. Apparently there were originally going to be “horrifying, disgusting and bloody deaths”. But in the end, Warner Bros. wanted to keep “The Meg” PG-13, to attract a younger crowd, including families looking for an end of the summer movie option.
Clearly “The Meg” does feel tame. Even though Megalodon kills a number of characters over the course of the two hours compared to other shark movies this one isn’t nearly as graphic. We spend a good chunk of the 1st half getting to know the characters only getting glimpses of the Meg, doesn’t pick-up until Statham’s first face-off with the Meg a whopping 45 minutes in.
A mediocre supporting cast (at least to American audiences), given very little to do, doesn’t help. When Rainn Wilson (sorry not a fan of the Office) is your second biggest name, you’ve got a Meg-a problem.
There are a handful of moments that provide the campy vibe that should’ve dominated “The Meg” but not enough to sell it as a guilty pleasure. This movie isn’t dramatic enough to be considered an A-level action flick, nor does it reach the B-level status of “Sharknado” being so bad that it’s good fun. It has elements of both “Deep Blue Sea” and the “Piranha” remake (which should have been NC-17 given how graphic it was).
Don’t bother springing for the 3D the format only pops during the opening credits underwater sequence with the bubbles and debris field and one shot of Statham atop the Meg at the end when it jumps out of the water.
It had a descent pace to keep you interested and a short running time, but with a storyline that has been done before many times and the deaths that are almost too easy to predict it’s almost sinks. But because it’s Statham leading the charge and the movie did well enough to merit a sequel, which the studio has already green lit, well see how they handle and possibly turn it around for the 2nd go round.
REVIEW SCORE/ C