By Jack Dignan
Shark movies have been done to death. Whether they’re in the ocean, a supermarket or a tornado, we’ve seen it all before. It was only a matter of time before one of Hollywood’s most recognisable action stars, Jason Statham, decided to take a swing at the sea’s most notable predator. Except it can’t just be the same old thing. We know what to expect in these types of pulpy b-movies. So, to raise the stakes, where does Hollywood turn? To the only place they can - a giant prehistoric shark once thought to be extinct but now awakened for a new generation of destruction. That’s right folks, the megalodon is back and it’s up to Hollywood’s baldest (second only to The Rock) action star to take it down.
That’s... that’s honestly really all you need to know when it comes to The Meg. A prehistoric shark has awakened and is now on the loose, slowly making its way towards civilisation. As is to be expected, violence ensues, scattering moments of carnage throughout an otherwise meandering plot. Genuine attempts are made at making this ridiculous plot work, and there are glimmers of b-movie greatness throughout, but it suffers severely from misguided identity and tonal imbalance. If, like me, you watched the trailer with a goofy smile on your face, prepare for disappointment, as the trailer department seemed to have a better grip on what this film should’ve been than the actual filmmakers did.
Jason Statham does his Jason Statham things, delivering soon-to-be-memed lines left right and centre, but even with the occasional laugh scattered throughout, he struggles to make good use of the abomination of a screenplay. When you bring together the writers of Red, Battleship and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2, mediocrity is bound to ensue, but The Meg goes beyond mediocre. It’s just bad. It spends far too long attempting to develop characters we know literally nothing about. Character development is fine. Obviously. It’s a key component of movies. But in order to develop characters you must first establish who they are. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you a single character’s name in this movie.
Right from the opening scene, this film reeks with trouble. The idea behind this opening is fine. I have no worries with that. It’s the lackluster execution and tension-less direction from Jon Turteltaub that left me puzzled and bored. And that’s the worst thing about this film, really. It’s boring. How did they make a film in which Jason Statham fights a giant shark boring? I have absolutely no idea, but it’s a disaster in every sense of the word. Glimmers of what this film should’ve been occur in the finale, most of which served as the basis for the trailer, but unfortunately there’s still 100 minutes of sludge to sit through first.
If only The Meg were half as creative as its many, many posters. This tedious, derivative, poorly paced disaster will give you the perfect excuse to leave the house and get back in the water. Go for a swim, see your family, hang out with friends. Just do literally anything else. Rampage, this is not. Its head is in the right place, but not even a plethora of bad actors are capable of making this so bad it’s good. Maybe one day we’ll make shark movies cool again. Today, however, is not that day.
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