With a tag line of ‘pleased to eat you’, The Meg doesn’t pretend to be a serious film, and thankfully so. Based on Steve Alten’s 1997 novel, Meg: A Novel of Deep Sea Terror, the film centres around Mana One, a multi-million underwater research facility financed by brash American Billionaire Jack Morris (Wilson), investigating the Mariana Trench, an underwater trench so deep it could house Everest with room to spare. A team of Mana One scientists (Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson et al.) navigate a submersible through a glacial layer of hydrogen sulphide in the trench floor, revealing an untouched deep-sea realm, home to creatures more terrifying than the film’s dubious science. With the mission trapped and terrorised by prehistoric ‘megashark’ Megalodon, a 75-foot lean, mean, man-eating machine, hitherto assumed extinct, Mana One turn to Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), an expert in deep-sea rescues who (conveniently) has successfully evaded the gigantic jaws of Megalodon before.
Although the premise is ridiculous, The Meg is, nonetheless, fairly enjoyable. Mana One’s individual submersibles resemble the gyrospheres of Jurassic World fame, while scenes of desperate mothers searching for their children in the melee of terrified swimmers are an obvious nod to Jaws. Apart from its satisfying evocation of contemporary science fiction genre, The Meg has some genuinely funny one-liners; Statham gleefully singing Dory’s “just keep swimming” while on his umpteenth attempt to get himself eaten is amusing and suitably dark. However, there are numerous times when you’re laughing at the film, and not in a good way; the line “that fossil ate my friend” was stand out hilarious and totally ruined what was intended to be a serious and moving scene. Likewise, the chemistry between Jonas and his supposed love interest, Suyin (Li Bingbing) is so bad you begin to understand why he spends so much time swimming into the open jaws of Megalodon.
Special Effects are undoubtedly at their acme in The Meg, giving realism where otherwise lacking to prehistoric ‘Meg’, and creating beautiful underwater spaces and terrifying surface landscapes which, when combined with the non-stop action of its frenetic narrative, easily pass the film’s 112 minutes. The delivery of dialogue in both English and Mandarin is a pleasing addition to an industry so frequently monolingual. With a certificate rating of 12A, The Meg is understandably, if not disappointingly, devoid of gore, resulting in a fun, easy to watch ‘popcorn film’ that promises to entertain.
Director: John Turteltaub
Starring: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chad, Cliff Curtis.