(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Cool, But Falls Short of the Ultimate
Jason Statham (“The Fate of the Furious”) delivers a good performance.
But is “The Meg” on the level of the classic, “Jaws?” Nah.
In “The Meg,” Jonas (Statham) is a somewhat successful deep-sea rescue diver.
Somewhat successful because although he saved 11 men from a certain and tragic death, he made the controversial decision to leave a few men behind when their submarine is suddenly attacked by an unknown object under water.
Although Jonas probably thinks that he should be lauded for his heroic efforts, he is met with controversy and labeled crazy by people like Dr. Heller (Robert Taylor) who never believed Jonas’ story of an under water threat.
Therefore, Jonas retires to a life of alcohol abuse and loneliness, which suits him just fine until fate knocks on his door in the form of his good friends, Mac (Cliff Curtis, "Risen") and Zhang (Winston Chao).
An out-of-touch and spoiled brat of a billionaire named Morris (Rainn Wilson) has invested tons of cash into a research center led by scientists Zhang and his daughter, Suyin (Bingbing Li) who have come to the hypothesis that there are layers of water below the ocean’s floor.
If they can prove their hypothesis, they can change the world of scientific thought forever and make a billionaire even wealthier.
When the divers Toshi (Masi Oka), Lori (Jessica McNamee) and The Wall (Olafur Darri Olafsson) make their insertion into the ocean’s floor, the explorers find out that the floor is really just the ceiling and another body of water exists below the ocean floor that no scientist ever knew existed.
What the explorers in “The Meg” actually discover is that the ocean floor is not a floor at all, only a cloud.
In “The Meg,” the explorers find a world of species that were unknown prior to their fascinating discovery.
The explorers in “The Meg” also find species that had long been presumed extinct, for better or worse.
For better are the vast array of beautiful fish that man had been cut off from for millennia.
For worse is some of the species that were thought to be extinct, which should have been left alone because their presence on Earth can wreak havoc on the world like nothing ever seen before.
The crew of explorers in “The Meg,” has the bad luck of running into some creature below the ocean floor that is hell bent on attacking their vessel and whatever is inside.
Although very few believed that Jonas actually saw something terrifying when he rescued 11 men from the ocean’s floor years earlier, his bold claim rings in the heads of the trapped explorers despite the ostracism that Jonas received from the scientific community.
The explorers are trapped.
Their oxygen levels are running low.
And it seems that any movement or light makes their vessel a target for attack from the unknown and unseen creature.
Unfortunately, the crew of explorers in “The Meg” has come across the megalodon, the planet’s largest ever shark, which many thought became extinct millions of years ago.
The megalodon, which lived during the Miocene era grew upwards of 50 feet and had absolutely no fear of anything or anybody.
To put things in context, the megalodon would have completely dwarfed the biggest great white sharks on the planet, which range from 11-16 feet depending on whether or not the great white shark is male or female.
Female great white sharks are smaller than their male counterparts.
Some scientists believed that the megalodon had teeth strong enough to crush an automobile.
In appearance, the megalodon looked just like a great white shark, only much bigger, obviously.
But despite its ferociousness and terrifying stature, the megalodon is no threat to the human population because it exists below the ocean’s floor.
However, like explorers and scientists often do, the explorers in “The Meg” have to upset Mother Nature and the natural order of things by exploring things that human beings gain no benefit from knowing about.
And when a vessel explodes below the ocean’s floor, it creates a pathway for the megalodon to reach the normal waters of the ocean, which could put human beings in extreme danger.
It is up to Mac and Zhang to convince Jonas to come out of retirement to save the explorers and possibly to save all mankind from the meg.
The movie “The Meg” is enjoyable enough as a summer escape from reality.
However, when “The Meg” ventures into the murky waters that “Jaws” reigns supreme in, it will never be able to compare because its predecessor was such a juggernaut in the annals of movie lure.
Statham delivers is his no-nonsense British butt-kicking way.
Additionally, actor Page Kennedy delivers as DJ, the stereotypical African-American character in movies with a little bit of water and a little bit of terror.
DJ cannot swim, which is a major stereotype for African-Americans.
And he is scared to death of anything and everything that poses a threat to the explorers and scientists.
Why DJ would take a job underwater and on the water, knowing that he cannot swim, is beyond anyone’s comprehension, even to eight year-old, Meiying (Sophia Cai).
In actuality, Cai steals the show from the much older Statham with her quick wit and wisdom beyond her years.
Meiying nicknames Jonas, “Crazy.”
And when Jonas tells Meiying that he is not crazy, he has just seen things that no one else has seen, she informs him that seeing things that nobody else does is the definition of crazy.
But “The Meg” cannot overcome the dreaded Hollywood formula.
The film has a few twist and turns as to be expected.
But the outcome is never in doubt.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers did not leave any obvious clues as to whether or not moviegoers can expect “The Meg 2” in the near future, which might be the only non-formulaic thing “The Meg” accomplished.
Although “The Meg” is cool and although “The Meg” has Statham, that lack of originality prevents it from being anything other than an enjoyable clone of a classic.