It seems every summer we get another killer shark movie. After spending years in development, The Meg, starring Jason Statham, based on a book by Steve Alten, hits our screens at the tail end of the blockbuster season.
Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is an ex-naval diver who lost a number of men when attempting a rescue mission in the Marianas Trench. Five years later, he is persuaded back to the area when he learns that his ex-wife, who is part of a research team, is in danger, knowing that the massive prehistoric shark that cost so many lives before will still be lurking in the deep waters.
This is pretty much filmmaking by numbers…moving from one action set piece to the next with passages of expository dialogue interspersing those scenes. Statham is a dab hand at those action sequences and for the most part they are well handled by director John Turteltaub, despite some variable shark effects. The problems with the film lie more with the script that has many clunky moments. Early on, the billionaire Morris (Rainn Wilson) arrives at the research facility he has been funding. Their work is explained to him in great detail, as if he would sink a large part of a fortune into a venture that he knows nothing about! Also, characterisation of most of the cast is paper thin.
It is becoming increasingly common to make a film like this with at least one eye on the Chinese market – the enjoyable Skyscraper is a recent example – and it is even more apparent here. The cast is padded-out by a significant Chinese contingent, most of whom add nothing to the film. Best of them is Bingbing Li as leading lady Suyin who is fun, but has zero chemistry with love interest Statham.
Borrowing heavily from Jaws, The Meg moves at a decent enough pace before the inevitable man versus shark finale.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10