“The Meg”

Some almost-mega fun

Davis Clark, Reporter

Shark movies can be separated into three categories. The first category just has “Jaws,” with little room for anyone else. The second tier is held for films that understood what “Jaws” did and knew how to pull us into their own world. The best example I can think of is “Deep Blue Sea” — a cult classic with enough blood, cheesiness, and underwater dilemmas to keep audiences engaged. And finally, we have the ones hardly worth mentioning, such as the endless “Sharknado” sequels. Ironically, “The Meg” is what the “Sharknado” provider, SYFY Channel should be striving for.  

Based loosely on a series of books by Steve Alten, “The Meg” follows Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) as he attempts to rescue survivors from a disabled submarine and ends up making a difficult choice. Years later, he sits in Thailand drinking his life away when an old friend seeks help in retrieving a group stranded in the Marinas Trench, including Taylor’s ex-wife. Despite the amount of drinking and lazing about he’s done, the doctor notes that he’s in perfect shape. Lucky bastard. From there, the story moves along, and it’s at least thirty minutes into the movie before we see a full look at the giant shark. One can only wish the trailers had showed such restraint, but director Jon Turtlenab wisely holds off to establish some of his characters before all hell breaks loose.  

That’s not to say these characters are complicated. Statham is reminded multiple times about the people he’s unable to save despite the fact that he actually does more than should be asked of one man. Several characters such as billionaire Morris (Rainn Wilson) and tech DJ (Page Kennedy) are there strictly for comic relief, even though they could have been so much more. Actress Ruby Rose is not used much at all. On the upside, a lot of screen time is used for Suyin (Bingbing Li), who becomes Statham’s equal in their attempts to take down the shark.  

That this movie is less than perfect is not surprising. What’s surprising is that it still manages to be entertaining. I was curious who would get eaten next and honestly expected more beachgoers to be swallowed up in the climax. Timidly given a PG-13 rating to bring in teenagers, this one doesn’t have as much terror or suspense as a few other shark films, but it still is a fun ride with enough bite to keep one engaged.  


For more movie reviews, follow Davis on Letterboxd @dwoodwardy.