'The Meg' Review

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The shark attack thriller genre has returned to surface recently, thanks to the popularity of Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” (highlighted by their ridiculous “Sharknado” movies). 2016’s “The Shallows” and last year’s “47 Meters Down” both took a pretty good bite out of their opening weekend box office battles. Now, one of the most badass action stars on the planet squares-off against a gigantic titan of the sea in “The Meg”.

A Megalodon is a 60-foot, prehistoric species of shark thought to have been extinct for millions of years. In “The Meg”, a group of scientists discover that one of these creatures still exists deep in the ocean. Jason Statham, the crowd-pleasing star of the “Fast and the Furious” and “Mechanic” franchises, must dive in and save the day when this monster goes on the attack.

Jason Statham
Jason Statham

In a recent interview Statham said that he thought “The Meg” was going to be a much more “gory and bloody” film. He says “a lot” changed from the concept he was initially pitched: “The script’s totally… radically different.” Director Jon Turtletaub (“National Treasure”) has also admitted being “disappointed” with aspects of the final cut. Apparently there were originally going to be “horrifying, disgusting and bloody deaths”. But in the end, Warner Bros. wanted to keep “The Meg” PG-13, to attract a younger crowd, including families looking for an end of the Summer movie option.

Clearly “The Meg” does feel tame. Even though Megalodon kills a number of characters over the course of the two hours, there’s a distinct lack of intensity and no legitimate suspense. What little energy there is doesn’t pick-up until Statham’s first face-off with the Meg a whopping 45 minutes in.

A mediocre supporting cast (at least to American audiences), given very little to do, doesn’t help. When Rainn Wilson is your second biggest name, you’ve got a Meg-a problem.

There are a handful of moments that provide the campy vibe that should’ve dominated “The Meg” – but not enough to sell it as a guilty pleasure. This movie isn’t dramatic enough to be considered an A-level action flick, nor does it reach the B-level status of “Sharknado” – being so bad that it’s good fun.

Instead, “The Meg” just floats along in the middle – dead in the water.

Jackson Murphy: Emmy Award-winning Film Critic / Entertainment Reporter. Broadcast Film Critics Assoc. (@CriticsChoice), SAG-AFTRA (@SAGAwards)