Film Review: “The Meg” Doesn’t Bite

Stockton Grunewald, Staff Writer

Shark films are a hit or miss. They can be a big risk for studios but have proven, at times, to be well worth the investment. Already a popular novel series, “The Meg” appeared to have all the makings of the former – but it really blew its competition out of the water, raking in half a billion dollars worldwide this past August. “The Meg,” however, is exactly as you’d expect – a mediocre entry into the horror genre.

First and foremost, “The Meg” circles around Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), a retired Deep-Sea diver, haunted by the memory of a rescue mission gone wrong. Something attacked a nuclear submarine – and to save the crew, some men were left behind. As a result, Taylor has taken off the cape and cowl and retired, vowing never to return to the icy depths of the Pacific ocean. Five years later, a group of scientists headed by Dr. Mingway Zhao (Winston Chao) and his daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing) have theorized that a pocket of warm water at the bottom of the Marianas Trench may be hiding additional life below (hint hint). A research submarine passes the barrier, getting into trouble with the same type of unknown creature as before. No one has attempted a rescue this deep – except for (dun dun dun) the reclusive Jonas Taylor.

Statham’s Taylor is not all too different from the character he has played in similar action films. He is a rogue anti-hero who does not go by the book but, in the end, always turns out with the upper hand. If you liked him in “Fast and Furious” franchise or “The Expendables,” you will like him in “The Meg.” Perhaps, one of the biggest structural problems with “The Meg” is the volume of people involved in the story. Within the first ten minutes, the audience is introduced to at least ten named characters, most of whom add little to the general plot (aside from being shark bait). The film seems cluttered and disorganized – distracting audiences from the fun of the shark-caused havoc.

It is entertaining to watch the scenes in which the fin appears. There are some nods to classic shark films throughout the movie. The shark is huge. The shark is “The Meg”, so the film has that going for it. There are a couple of moments that may give you genuine surprise but, aside from that, “The Meg” doesn’t bite. It’s probably safe to go back in the water.

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