The Meg — Film Review

‘Not for Toshi and not for science…..’

On the Odeon cinema website, there is a brief description of each film currently playing along with a list of showtimes. The description for The Meg is as follows: Jason Statham fights a giant prehistoric shark.’

What more do you need to know?

If that basic one-sentence summary doesn’t interest you then The Meg probably isn’t for you. For me, this might be the best piece of B-movie fun we’ve seen in a long time.

The Meg has got every 80s/90s action movie trope you can think of. A maverick hero who everyone thinks is crazy? here; Nonsense scientific explanations? here; Unnecessary heroic sacrifices? here; A subplot involving an estranged ex-wife? here; An evil businessman who’s only in it for the money? here.

If there’s one thing the film could never be accused of its originality. There is nothing new here with the exception of the strong ties to China that are evident throughout the film in both its cast (Chinese star Bingbing Li shares top billing with Statham) and its locations.

Bingbing Li and her very expensive watch

The very thin plot plays out off the cost of China on and around the hi-tech deep sea research facility Manta One, as an international team of scientists and explorers attempt to discover what lies in the hidden depths of the Mariana Trench.

Before long the deep sea explorations awaken the prehistoric Megalodon, a 70-foot shark who seems hell-bent on eating everyone and everything in its path.

With lives on the line and no time to lose there’s only one man who can save us now — Jason Statham.

In Stath we trust

After the initial setup, the film gives us exactly what we came here for — a series of over the top action scenes, daring rescues and PG-13 violence.

The reason The Meg works so well is because its fully aware of how silly it is. While a few witty lines and jokes fall flat there is a sense of fun throughout the movie which is hard not to go along with. The only downside to the light tone is that when people mourn for their recently devoured friends, its hard to take them seriously.

Much like The Fast and Furious films, your ability to enjoy The Meg depends on your ability to switch your brain off and just go with it. Unlike the F&F films though The Meg very rarely dials up the melodrama and keeps it suitably light.

Statham’s Fast and Furious co-star Dwayne Jonson has also had a crack at a ‘sci-fi channel, B-Movie’ this year with Rampage. If these two are to be in competition with each other with this kind of film going forward I have to say I’m all for it. Round one goes to Statham though. While Rampage was enjoyable in its own right it didn’t have the same tongue-in-cheek sense of fun that we have with The Meg. Your move Mr Johnson….