Thank god for Jason Statham. Maybe he is the same guy in all of his movies, but he does that guy better than anyone else. He is cool, funny, ripped, and charismatic all at the same time, which makes him perfect for roles like this. I was really happy not to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in this one because he is in almost every single action movie nowadays, so it was fun to see Statham getting some action time that he truly deserves. We will see both Statham and Johnson soon together in HOBBS & SHAW which is the largely anticipated FAST & THE FURIOUS spinoff. Now let’s go back to our main seafood course here and see if THE MEG was able to put most of the audience on the edge of their seats or was it just another big budget snooze fest.
THE MEG starts with a small submarine which is a part of a deep ocean observation station attacked by a huge creature. The unlucky survivors are stuck on the sea floor inside the wrecked machine with little hope. As you might have guessed, the only way to save them is to bring on the best deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (played by Statham) to save the survivors from an enormous creature known as the Megalodon, a 75-foot-long shark. I have always been an admirer of director John Turteltaub. His films are entertaining, easy on the eyes, fast paced, and generally fun to watch. I particularly liked his very enjoyable NATIONAL TREASURE movies with Nicolas Cage and always wondered why they didn’t take a stab at a third one after the huge success of the first two. Turteltaub is certainly good at providing a good dose of guilty pleasure.
In this one, he ups the suspense and the tension to the right level. There are a decent amount of edge of your seat moments and it is more than enough to satisfy most moviegoers. The visual effects and the CGI are fun to watch, and even though the cast is not the film’s biggest strength, it is cool to watch different kind of people with amusing accents preparing together a plan to destroy the Megalodon and the suspense is what carries it. The screenplay goes from serious to funny in a split second and keeps doing that for pretty much the whole film. The tone shift can be annoying to some moviegoers but it doesn’t make the film less fun to watch and it adds some funny moments that shows that film is exactly aware of its own limitations and silliness.
My biggest problem with THE MEG is the decision to not go the Rated-R route with the picture. It is a movie with a huge shark, a lot of suspense, and pretty much an ounce of blood. The good moments start with good music, then the creature appears, the tensions kicks in, the confrontation takes place, and then it ends with a whimper. I understand that the producers want a bigger audience, but for a giant shark movie with a lot of tension, the lack of gore is a downer. All in all, THE MEG is another guilty pleasure under Turteltaub’s belt and there is nothing wrong with that. It is not the best summer blockbuster or a great action movie, but it is still very watchable and entertaining.
Rating: **1/2 out of ****
THE MEG is now in theatres.