Do you like the SyFy channel? Do you like their “cheesy” sci-fi movies? If you do, it may help you enjoy Jaws 12… oops, sorry, I meant “The Meg.” But seriously, so many shark movies that all copied “Jaws,” this may as well be Jaws 12. As a bonus, I’m going to see just how many shark-in-a-movie references I can pull out of my hat while talking about this movie.
First off, I admit that “The Meg” had me very excited. I really have enjoyed Jason Statham in his quintessential “Statham” movies. I’m talking the Transporter series, his run in the Fast and Furious series, and sure, even the Crank movies. They all showcased this guy as the ultimate bad-ass, brawler action star. And for the most part, he has lived up to it.
Even thinking about this movie, I had to pause and say, “75-foot shark, eh? against Statham? Maybe you should give the shark some freaking laser-beams.” All in good fun though, I enjoyed Jaws, maybe I even looked for a shark or two in the last few tornadoes on the Weather Channel. I wanted this film to be good.
What I got was rather disappointing. The movie did the right thing and added in a good amount comedy alongside the thrills and spills. A few all-to-predictable moments of equipment failure and a slow start already hobble the movie, but I can get past that. We join the prologue as Jonas Taylor, Jason Statham, along with his rescue crew, are attempting to save men from a destroyed submarine. When the sub is attacked by something giant, Jonas must make the hard call to leave his two teammates to die in order to save the 11 men he rescued. Disgraced by leaving those men behind he drowns his sorrows in Thailand for years before redemption shows up in the form of a chance to rescue his ex-wife and her crewmates from a super-deep dive.
I won’t question how the submarine met the Megalodon shark, that is what the plot implies, before Jonas and his stranded ex-wife basically raise it from the bottom of the Marianas Trench. I’ll just toss that one over into “movie logic.”
Another logic problem I had was how easily this huge menacing shark could be distracted from its kill with some flashing lights. At one point on a beach scene, the shark is being led around by Jonas and Suyin, Bingbing Li, in two one-man submersibles. I did enjoy the cat and mouse action of the scene, but the shark avoiding the overcrowded beach because of some lights had me screaming, “Humans are friends, not food.” Thanks for setting me straight, Bruce.
One thing the movie did great was the character of Meiying, Shuya Sophia Cai. I don’t usually expect the cuteness factor in a monster movie. But this little girl cranks it out in spades. Adding a level rarely used in movies like this was refreshing. I’m not saying its never been done, I just don’t see it. Balancing her innocence against the rest of the crew in the Mana One Research Center exuding misfit vibes at least sets a variety of levels for its characters even if its development is short lived. And honestly, it’s a monster flick, if you want character development go find something else. We’re here to watch a 75-foot shark devour people without chewing. It is the cinema industry’s great obsession in the deep blue sea.
With far less suspense than the Jaws films, farm less jump scares than “Deep Blue Sea,” and far less plot than either, I can’t honestly say this film is good. But something holds me back from outright saying its trash. It does have great action sequences, though there are only a few. It does do well with its comedic parts, especially the dumb billionaire who funds the center. It does well with its premise, but it feels like a SyFy TV Movie that really wanted to hit the big screen. Would I watch it again, no. But would my girlfriend, who seriously live on the SyFy channel, watch it? Over and over and over again.
For a review, would you’re average moviegoer really enjoy the movie? I doubt it.
Ultimately, “The Meg” is a half-decent movie that really couldn’t stay afloat compared to the other big fish out there. Sorry Meg, you’re gonna need a bigger boat.