I love me a good killer shark movie. It’s one of those specific, very limited subgenres that I love. That doesn’t mean I love over the top trash like Sharknado. I just want some good, classic schlock of sharks munchin’ on people. Jaws is of course the best. A masterclass in suspense and excitement that can’t be topped, so why even try? That’s why I love films like Deep Blue Sea and The Shallows. They don’t try to be anything like Jaws, nor try to emulate it. They just are what they are: sharks killing people and terrorizing them in the most gruesome ways possible.

Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is a rescue diver, taking a five year hiatus from the job after failing to save some victims. He’s brought back into action when his ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) and her team find themselves stranded deep down in the Mariana Trench. When Jonas goes to rescue them, they come across the gigantic, prehistoric shark, the megalodon, thought to be extinct for thousands of years. The shark makes its ways to the regular waters, and it’s now man vs The Meg, as Jonas and his team try to stop the beast before it turns too many people into fish food. 

When you have a killer shark movie, there’s one thing I want to see in the majority of it: the shark! These movies are all about the carnage. Sure, sharks aren’t so bloodthirsty for humans in real life and they’re grossly misrepresented in these films, but where’s the fun in that? We want people being snacked on. Unfortunately, there’s simply not enough feasting to be found here. Whenever people do eventually become fish food, it’s mostly bloodless and uninventive. You’re seriously telling me that this gigantic shark swims to the most populated beach in the world, with hundreds of people in the water, and we don’t get one filter feeding scene of it just gulping up people by the dozens?! Come on! But hey, Jason Statham fighting a megalodon with a miniature submarine is some good schlock, too. I’ll take what I can get, I suppose. At least there were times I felt a little bit on edge, mostly due to my fear of the ocean and vast amount of undersea life.

While there was a severe lack of fun killer sharkness, the cheesy, B-movie quality of the film actually kept me somewhat entertained and engaged throughout. The dialogue is absolutely terrible, filled with silly sci-fi jargon, cringeworthy romance, and annoying kid quips. It says a lot when I laugh at none of the intentional comic relief, and giggle at the unintentional moments. I lost it when people first describe the shark to Jason Statham and he immediately says, “Megalodon,” without even a microsecond of hesitation. He’s at least always fun to watch, and I also enjoyed Rainn Wilson’s generic greedy businessman, with some hints of Dwight Schrute here and there. The rest of the actors are pretty terrible, though, especially Li Bingbing and Ruby Rose. Why does Ruby Rose need to be in everything, especially when she can’t decide which accent to use? I’m not sure how much that had to do with the awful dialogue and stale direction, though. At least it looked nice at times. 

The plot and logic surrounding everything is ludicrous, of course. This is one of those films that you just have to accept, though. Like Deep Blue Sea and its genetically altered smart sharks, this is about a prehistoric shark wreaking havoc and you can’t take it too seriously. The filmmakers didn’t take the premise too seriously, but also didn’t have enough fun with it. I was actually getting quite a few Deep Blue Sea vibes, with the giant undersea facility and character archetypes, but with none of the entertainment value.  

The fact of the matter is, a killer shark movie is really only good as its killer shark, and for being such a gigantic menace, The Meg doesn’t even hold a candle to the likes of other cinematic sharks. She doesn’t have the same intelligence as the sharks from Deep Blue Sea, the ferocity and tenacity of the great white from The Shallows, nor the suspenseful presence of Bruce from Jaws, who could pop up and eat you at any time. If it wasn’t for Jason Statham doing what he does best, there wouldn’t be a whole lot to enjoy here. The megalodon did go extinct for a reason. Maybe it should stay that way.


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