I was about 7 or 8 years old when I read the original Steve Alten novel, Meg. I was in love with films and books about creatures eating people, like Jaws or Aliens, et al. Thus we finally have The Meg, an adaptation that is 20 years in the making. And it’s awful.
The Meg is about a pre-historic shark that has been unearthed by a research laboratory made up of an international crew in international waters. Once said shark finds a way out of its habitat in deep ocean beds, it wrecks fairly bloodless havoc.
I can’t get over this – the acting is pretty awful across the board. I was totally onboard for Jason Statham vs. giant, pre-historic shark. But he just feels totally out of place in this, and not even in a fun way. Nearly all of the Chinese actors are absolutely horrendous with some of the worst (English) dialogue delivery I’ve seen in a movie in some time (I do recognise it was a co-production with Chinese filmmakers, but it was woeful). The most chemistry in this film was between Statham and Kiwi, Cliff Curtis, who I think benefit from being ‘bros’. I would have been keen to see them exchange quips in a buddy-shark killing quest.
The Meg had some moments of tension, but on the whole nearly every moment designed to provide tension was lacklustre or failed to provide said tension. It needed so much more gore, so much more violence to be effective. It just felt bloodless for a movie that needed more gore. Case in point: there’s a scene with a ton of beachgoers partying with the shark swimming underneath. Once the mayhem starts, it seems like hardly anything happens except for a few injuries here and there. Even the similar scene in Jaws (which this scene clearly winks at), where the boy and the dog get eaten, had more weight than this scene. A populated beach at the mercy of a giant shark, come on! give us more weight!
I really did not expect anything from The Meg. I knew it would wink to classic monster movies. I knew it would be quite unbelievable. I knew Jason Statham was not meant for it. But what I got was just so dull. So dull.
I’m keen for a shark movie, but The Meg is a movie where things happened but it never felt like it really mattered. The suspense was rarely there.
Pass over this one.