Release Date: August 10th, 2018
Cast: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Gravity Pictures, Flagship Entertainment
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
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Every few years we get the next Shark Movie. Before The Meg it was 47 Meters Down, before that it was The Shallows. Those were just the last three years! Before that there was Open Water, the LL Cool J/Saffron Burrows/Thomas Jane-joint Deep Blue Sea. All riding the wave that was created by Jaws back in ’75. This isn’t even counting all of the Sci-Fi originals ‘movies’ and their fare.
Sharks and their ilk are popular boogeymen for us it would seem, and so, to scratch that itch, Jon Turteltaub and the folks at Warner Bros. bring us The Meg.
The Meg is a feature film adaptation of the 1997 book Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror. They dropped the subtitle, perhaps because there is no deep terror to be found here, and added a ‘The’ so people didn’t think it was a Meg Ryan Biopic, or perhaps a Family Guy spin-off project. Anyway, it’s here, how does it stack up to those that came before?
The movie jumps right into the action, its a deep sea submarine rescue! Jason Statham and his crew are saving the survivors of a wrecked submarine when something big smashes the side. He makes the toughest call of his life and leaves two of his team to die, in order to save the rescued crew, all before whatever it was damages the sub and causes a massive explosion.
Five years later and Rainn Wilson is a wealthy goon, funding a deep sea lab hoping to explore a hidden chunk of the ocean down in the Marianas Trench. In that SeaLab are a bunch of rando oceanographers, including Cliff Curtis, Knock-Off LL Cool J, Hiro Nakamura, and family of scientists, the Father, the Daughter, and the Daughter’s Daughter. Oh, and Jason Statham’s ex-wife and fellow rescue submariner who doesn’t believe in Statham’s fish tales.
As you can imagine things go south pretty much immediately and Statham is called in to save the day. The rest of the movie unfolds rather predictably and so, aside from the sheer size of the shar- excuse me, megalodon, on display, there isn’t anything that sets this flick apart, and certainly nothing ahead of the others.
What it does well: Gets to the action quick. Cliff Curtis. On the whole, it is an interesting cast, unfortunately, their characters make little room for any sort of joy.
What it does poorly: Tension, suspense, action. Really any of the emotions you’d hope to feel featuring a murderous leviathan from the deep this movie does not do. You never really fear for the main cast, there’s never any real threat to them. A few of the extraneous SeaLab staff get chomped but even then it’s all rather sterile.
A shark movie should have our nerves knotted up with the blood in the water. The Meg has us checking our watches.