DIRECTOR: Jon Turteltaub (Last vegas, the sorcerer's apprentice, National treasure)
STARRING: jason statham, Li bingbing, rainn wilson, cliff curtis, and sophia cai
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A massive creature attacks a deep-sea submersible, leaving it disabled and trapping the crew at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. With time running out, rescue diver Jonas Taylor must save the crew and the ocean itself from an unimaginable threat - a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon.
The Meg is one of those movies you want to like. A great ensemble cast led by Jason Statham (I mean who doesn't like the Stath?), a giant prehistoric shark, and mostly filmed in little old NZ. Whats not to like? Unfortunately, quite a lot.
The Meg opens with Jonas (Stathman), a rescue diver, failing to rescue all of the crew members of a stricken nuclear sub. Years later he is called to rescue another crew who are trapped in the bottom of the Marianas trench. But upon completing the rescue, Jonas inadvertently releases a megaladon, a giant shark, and it begins to wreak havoc on everything in its path.
The premise is a great one but the execution has very little bite. For a summer shark blockbuster its just not that gripping. We are never truly holding our breath fearing or gripping our armrests as we fear for the lives of the characters. Even though the megaladon is a massive shark it just doesn't seem that scary.
I really like Jason Statham and think he's a pretty decent actor (if you haven't seen him in the terrific Roger Donaldson film The Bank Job you need to check it out). But his part was underwritten and inconsistent and didn't allow Statham to play to his strengths. It doesn't help that he has to play opposite Li Bingbing who turns in one of the worst performances of the year.
Summer blockbusters are generally full of a whole lot of stereotypical characters. We know the drill. But even with such stereotypes we either like them or care about them. Unfortunately in The Meg there aren't any characters that we like or care about - except for Mac (Clift Curtis) and Meiying the daughter of Suyin (Sophia Cai) and we don't nearly see enough of them on screen. Cliff Curtis can seem to wring movie magic from a very bad script and is a pleasure to watch. But the star of the show is Sophia Cai who shines as Suyin; she's cheeky, funny, and is completely believable in the more emotionally dramatic scenes. I reckon her future in the acting world will be bigger than any megaladon.
Unfortunately The Meg packs little bite but the performance of young star Sophia Cai is a wonder to behold.