It’s Jason Stratham vs a giant, prehistoric shark … I am braced for brooding soliloquies about the numbness of human existence, the existential horror of realising there is no God and the exploration of societal themes based on gender roles and repressed sexuality.
Nah, not really, we all know what we’re getting here, we just wanna know if it’s worth the 2 hours sitting watching it.
For me, yeah, it was. It’s daft as all buggery but it knows it and there’s no pulling the punches on just how daft it can get!
We have all the usual archetypes here, the gnarled and dispirited action man hiding from the world due to a massive disaster he was involved in, the irresponsible billionaire who we think is cool but is a massive bell, the nerdy, beautiful expert who hates the hero at first but slowly falls for him … plus a supporting cast of nerds, explosive sociopaths and, of course, a massive bloody shark!!!
Jaws it ain’t. Jaws 2 it ain’t. Jaws 3? There was no Jaws 3 or 4, despite what you may have heard/seen/watched. But, while it’s not Jaws, it’s a pretty good post-modern bash at it.
It all kicks off at an underwater research centre (do these actually exist?) where the boffins have discovered a whole new ecosystem at the bottom of the sea underneath a shelf of cold water. Nothing can get in or out, so the animals have either hardly evolved or evolved differently to other fishies above the shelf. But, guess what? There’s a bad thing lurking below and it’s not happy with all these high tech mini-subs scooting about the place causing some serious light pollution!
Of course, it’d be pretty dull if the action was all based in this new under-water world, well unless it’s the Abyss, so the plot gives us a way for the beast to escape and get his/her oversized teeth into the expensive aqua lab.
From there it’s a fun ride of pointy toothed terror and water-based derring-do! As you would expect.
The good thing about The Meg, and the thing that makes it a watchable action film, is it doesn’t go over the top. Apart from the size of the shark, it pretty much plays around the same themes Jaws does – packed beaches, danger to life and fast swims to safety. The body count is pretty low too.
Statham is always watchable in these things; he’s no Paddy Considine, but he does what he does very well – like Stallone or Arnie. Page Kennedy isn’t a name I knew but he puts in a great performance in this, at times comedic and at others quite touching.
The rest of the cast I can take or leave, none of them hit me hard but all did their jobs adequately and no one spoiled anything – Ruby Rose may have a future in feature films if she sticks to the sassy punk with a heart of gold, but I’m not seeing her as the next Judi Dench. All in all, The Meg does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s never gonna live up to Jaws, possibly one of the best movies ever made, but it holds its own against the likes of Deep Blue Sea or Open Water.
Review by Polly Phluid