The ocean is a wondrous place, is it not? But alongside that, comes a fleeting feeling of fear. The fear of the unknown is a common sentiment people have regarding the big blue sea; in fact, it’s been noted somewhere that over 80% of the world’s oceans have been left unexplored. Various features that trigger our hydrophobia tend to include: nasty looking fishes, whales, rapey dolphins, the notion of being trapped in a cavern for hours on end, Cthulu, and of course, sharks. And its kind of obvious why we’d be wary of these pointy finned, sharp toothed beasts, considering how tenacious they become when their prey is in their sights. If you’ve found yourself surrounding by these fellas and you’re not a professional swimmer of some sorts, then you’ve signed your death warrant. There’s a reason why Jaws is such an iconic movie to this day; it serves as a reminder for how dangerous the open waters are.
The Meg, or The Megalodon if you want the long version, is the latest instalment in a long line of generic shark movies. What manages to stand it out from the rest of the pack? Nothing! The Meg is about as typical as you can get when it comes to films depicting the fight between man and nature. A soulless film made solely to cash in on the Asian film market. Yes, The Meg is pretty much on the same level as Skyscraper, in the sense that it’s a passionless crowd pleaser.
Immediately after the opening logos have dispersed, I found myself instantly drawing parallels between this film and last month’s Skyscraper. Both films take place in luxurious Asian locales, feature a cast of well known Asian actors/actresses, and incorporate a bunch of thrills in a barely conceived story that makes little to no sense. The Meg begins with a sea excursion gone wrong, as rescue diver Jonas Taylor, played by the cockney accented Jason Statham (whom you guys probably know as Deckard Shaw from the Fast & Furious franchise), fails to save two members of this team and goes into commission after being wrecked with guilt. A few years later and he’s brought back into the game after it turns out that the shark responsible for attacking his team, is now terrorizing an underwater lab on the coast of Shanghai.
This film is overloaded with monster movie clichés. Pointless sacrifices for the sake of drama, generic last breath speeches, a giant prehistoric creature wreaking havoc, people being eaten, aquatic life being eaten, cringe inducing romances where the characters have zero chemistry, a character portrayed by a prolific actor getting axed off halfway through, barely any gore, tons of bikini clad chicks dancing, you name it! There’s not a single original bone in its body. The idea that its made solely to appeal to Chinese/Asian audiences is exacerbated by the various Asian territories the film takes place in. From the futuristic, Metropolitan skyline of Shanghai, to the lush jungles of Thailand’s countryside (okay this film at least gets points of including my home country), to the watery landscape of China’s very own Sanya Bay, this film exploits these locations for the sake of catering to a select group of audiences. Its no different from how Transformers Age of Extinction tried to make up for its critical failings by appealing to groups they know are the only ones watching these movies. As painful as it sounds, The Meg is a commercialized cashgrab, only existing to make buck through entertaining audiences with the same tired clichés repeatedly.
So, is there anything positive about this creatively bankrupt piece of filth? Well, as an action star, Jason Statham gets the job done. His stern looks, and deadpan delivery almost lends a speck of personality to every action sequence. It’s kind of like seeing a young Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to faff about in an otherwise semi-serious motion picture. Rainn Wilson as the billionaire also worked, his unempathetic and greedy demeaner practically chewing the scenery around him. Some of the action scenes get a low pass for their execution though. There were a couple of scenes here and there that were genuinely thrilling to witness on the big screen. Like that one moment where Statham launches himself at the Megalodon with nothing but a harpoon in his hand.
Otherwise, what else is there to even say about this film? It’s a generic, by the numbers, pg-13 blockbuster just like the rest. These movies are all the same; very little creativity, a lack of passion involved, and the only ambition ingrained within its filmmakers being that of making enough buck to fill Scrooge McDuck’s vault. There’s a reason why this review is so short, and no, it’s not because I’ve lost the urge to write long reflections on shitty movies anymore. I just have nothing else worth talking about. It’s got a cookie cutter plot, a stereotypical cast of characters, and sequences so standard, you’d swear it was like the 90s still. Watch Mission Impossible Fallout instead if action is what you so desire. So, to sum it up, this film sucks! Shut up Meg!
Final verdict: 3/10
P.S: I will give the film this though: at least they played a Thai song during the end credits. Yay, Thailand!