Through the annals of time there have been tales of man pitting himself against monster, with fictional clashes of monolithic proportions rife throughout history. Hercules against the Hydra and David versus Goliath are stories that will be told for years, though both encounters feel like primers for this face-off: Jason Statham against a shark the size of five double decker buses, in scientific terms, an absolute unit.
Directed by National Treasure’s Jon Turtletaub, The Meg tells the story of an underwater investigation gone awry, and the one thing between this decade’s premier action man and the safety of an endangered crew, is his old foe – a gargantuan prehistoric fish. While being leagues away from Oscar bait, there’s no real effort to double down and dial up the crazy, instead we get a lobotomised monster movie akin to Jaws on Valium not the Crank on water we perhaps anticipated.
Despite his reasonable charm, the Statham that has been going toe to toe with The Rock in the Fast and Furious franchise is blunted and relegated to delivering campy zingers in a diabolically bad American accent, drowning in schmaltz alongside his love interest Suyin (Bingbing Li) for much of the film.
Though it feels futile to try to give credence to the trope-laden supporting cast (see: comic relief one-liner guy, precocious child, endangered pet) it’d be remiss not to mention a deliciously sleazy performance from Rainn Wilson whose display of shithousery throughout gives more bite than our finned friend comes close to.
After teasing a film with a concept so outlandish it could only be a self-aware romp, you can’t help but feel the ante could’ve been upped – the gore is reeled in and the action, save for a couple of barmy set-pieces, somewhat flounders. We’re gonna need a bigger spectacle.
CAST: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Ruby Rose
DIRECTOR: Jon Turteltaub
WRITERS: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
SYNOPSIS: After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.