The Meg - This Non Rocking Movie Needs A Bigger Boat, A Bigger Shark, A Bigger Stath!
Dir: Jon Turtletaub
Starring Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Jessica McNamee
Jon Turtletaub, that most workmanlike of directors (and that certainly doesn’t change here) claims there is a hard-R cut of The Meg. And that would make sense for what is on offer in this more family friendly version feels completely bowdlerised. Yes, it’s a shark movie without teeth. A film where the BBFC’s certification card sites “moderate peril” – a film about the biggest, meanest shark the world has ever seen – and “moderate” peril is the best you have to offer? Jesus, what went wrong here??
Clearly designed to make most of its money in China – note the cast, note the locations, note the fact that noone seems to have bothered with the script or anything approaching a character of more than one dimension – good ole The Stath valiantly tries to keep this afloat. He’s a rescue diver with a past – he keeps leaving people behind to die when he’s supposed to be rescuing them! You wonder why they still come looking for him – this time digging him out from the bottom of a bottle somewhere in Thailand – when his ex wife gets stuck courtesy of what turns out to be a prehistoric Megalodon – big fucking shark, to you and me.
After that it’s little more than a succession of man vs shark set pieces that lacks the finesse of Jaws and the fun of Sharknado both. Not so bad it’s good, not even a little bit good enough to be passable, Turtletaub manages to wrangle his 70 foot dino-shark into a series of moments that somehow contrive to squarely keep you far away from the edge of your seat. There is so little tension in these big action beats that you will pine for the worst of shark week docs. Thrills are missing and despite a body count (to be fair the shark is responsible for more deaths than Statham’s “rescue” diver) the only blood on show belongs to the fish.
The Stath does bring his usual charm to the role (even though there is zero chemistry between him and romantic interest Bingbing) but, despite a late in the day mana-a-sharko moment the film has been crying out for, everything remains remarkably underwhelming.
Even the “Fin” gag at the end (yes, we’ve spoilt it! No apologies) sinks like a unwelcome turd at a public swimming pool.
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