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Dan's Review: "The Meg" is kind of a dead fish

Aug 10, 2018 04:33PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Jason Statham in The Meg - © 2018 – Warner Bros.

The Meg (Warner Bros.)

Rated PG-13 for action/peril, bloody images and some language.

Starring Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Shuya Sophia Cai, Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jessica McNamee, Masi Oka.

Written by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, based on

“Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten.

Directed by John Turtletaub.

GRADE: C+

REVIEW:

Sometimes, “bigger” isn’t  “better.” That doesn’t stop filmmakers from trying to outdo themselves when it comes to making special effects-driven films like The Meg, opening this weekend.

Jason Statham stars as Jonas Taylor, an underwater specialist who lost several members of his submarine team during a rescue attempt at the bottom of the ocean. Five years later, a billionaire named Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) has constructed a deep-sea science compound called “Mana One,” where a team of scientists has been trapped at the bottom of the ocean following an encounter with a mysterious large creature. One of the scientists is Jonas’ ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee), so despite vowing never to return to deep sea rescuing, he heads on over to international waters off the coast of China. The lead scientist of Mana One is Dr. Zhang (Winston Chao), whose daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing) serves as the lead oceanographer. Before Jonas can make his dive, Suyin takes off to save the scientists herself, creating another potential hazard for the rescue mission. They soon discover the source of all the trouble, a gigantic Megalodon (giant shark). Most of the crew is rescued, but they are confident that the “Meg” is content to stay in the deeper parts of the ocean, due to a frozen shield over the sea floor (guess how that turns out). When they get back to the surface, the “Meg” attacks Mana One and turns its sights toward Mainland China. The team must fight against time to get to the coast and kill the shark before it wreaks too much bloodshed among a vast population of tourists in the water.

The Meg has some fun and thrilling moments, but they are few and far between, once the giant shark is revealed. Those moments aren’t exactly surprising, either. For instance, when someone falls in the water and everyone is laughing, you know what’s going to happen next (“chomp”).

The Meg also suffers from a little identity crisis. At one point, the action and dialogue campy, and a few seconds later, the mood shifts to full-fledged melodrama, especially in scenes involving Suyin and her father. Speaking of the dialogue (coupled with the pseudoscientific absurd storyline), it isn’t all that clever, funny or relevant to the plot, and Statham doesn’t have the comedic ability to deliver that kind of chat. The rest of the international cast lacks the kind of chemistry that makes you want to root for anyone’s survival. Ruby Rose, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Masi Oka and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson all play members of the team, but none of them seem well-suited for oceanographers and they never really hit it off on screen. Even the cute Shuya Sophia Cai, who plays Suyin’s daughter can’t save The Meg from a bland result.

As far as the CG shark goes, it’s impressive, even though the bloodshed stays well within the realm of the film’s PG-13 rating. The Meg is sometimes terrifying, but most of the time it’s a dead cinematic fish.  


The Meg Trailer

Arts+Entertainment movies movie reviews Oceanography

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