Movie Review: The Meg (2018)

Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li and Rainn Wilson

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

After escaping an attack from what he claims to have been a 70ft shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fear once more as five years later he’s called to rescue a team of divers who may be being attacked by the same monster.

After seeing the trailer a number of weeks ago I wasn’t sure what to make of the impending release of The Meg. While the trailer made it look more like a comedy than an action drama, a small part of me hoped that this could be a modern day Jaws as it boasts a solid cast and similar subject matter but I wasn’t holding my breath. The Meg was released yesterday here in the UK and on opening night my wife and I decided to go and pay a visit to the cinema to watch it. For an opening night of a big Hollywood release I was dreading that the movie screen would be packed full of people and I’m not a huge fan of large crowds but surprisingly the screen was quite sparse of people which indicated to me that either people weren’t interested in the movie or this was going to be a big flop.

The opening scene was very good as it set up the remainder of the story quite nicely despite the acting being pretty poor from all involved. The fact that we didn’t get to see the megalodon right away was good as I’m a firm believer that less is more when it comes to this type of fear and drama. While I didn’t want this movie to be exactly like Jaws, I would’ve liked it to have taken a few pages from its book and use the visual image of the shark sparingly to make it more of a special event when we as the audience lay our eyes on the prehistoric monster. Unfortunately though, casual movie goers of today are only interested in bigger, better and lots of it. I truly feel that had the Megalodon been more of an imposing presence that’s lurking out there somewhere rather than being a constant visual presence many people would’ve found this movie boring and slow as they wouldn’t appreciate the art of suspense.

Jason Statham plays his usual action hero role which is a role he has become quite aquatinted to over the years but it is a role that he has mastered and can perform with considerable ease. He shares great chemistry with on screen love interest Bingbing Li as well as with her daughter played by the wonderful Shuya Sophia Cai. Based on this performance the 10 year old should have a big career in front of her but it very rarely pans out that way for good child actors as they tend to seek other endeavours as they grow older. The Meg provided a lot more laughs than I had expected with actors such as Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis and Page Kennedy providing much of the comedic relief although at times I felt too much focus was on the comedy aspect of the movie and less on the serious drama that was unfolding.

The visual effects used throughout the movie were very good as the shark and even the giant squid looked great. I loved the set design, especially the way the research facility Mana One looked as the all round cinematography was of high standard. The one thing that did get quite repetitive was the amount of times Jason Statham’s character had to save the day. I’m not sure how many people he had to keep saving but it felt like whenever anybody was in danger, Statham was on hand to bail them out of trouble right at the last minute, I felt they went to the well a little too often with that.

Overall, I enjoyed The Meg but I felt it was a missed opportunity to produce something spectacular. I’d like this to be a standalone movie but if it does well at the box office I can see Hollywood churning out a bunch of straight to DVD sequels.


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