Let’s be upfront about this action thriller starring Jason Statham – it was never intended to be Oscar bait of any sort, complete with an intelligent script and critically-acclaimed performances. In fact, the ever cocky Statham is not an actor you’d even associate with depth and variety. The producers probably set out wanting this flick to be a cheesy popcorn movie that features a shark chomping on unsuspecting humans, and have audiences sniggering with glee.
Indeed, this movie promises and delivers (pardon the pun) a whale of a time. In fact, if all you’ve ever known of monster movies of this sort is from classics like Sharknado, Mega Shark or Deep Blue Sea, this here is the Daddy Shark of the genre.
Based on Steve Alten’s novel Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, the movie’s human protagonists are led by rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham), who unwillingly gets involved in a mission to prevent a giant shark from wreaking havoc. In the mix are other members like rich tycoon and comic relief, Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson), IT systems specialist Jaxx Herd (Ruby Rose), Doctor Heller (Robert Taylor), ex-wife/submarine pilot, Celeste (Jessica McNamee) and a team of scientists who… do sciency stuff.
Oh, and like Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Skyscraper, this movie was funded by China money, so the female lead is taken by the incredibly beautiful Li Bingbing, who plays scientist and mother Zhang Suyin, as well as noted Taiwanese actor Winston Chao, who plays Suyin’s father, Dr. Zhang Minway.
There is no need to wreck your brain over technicalities because the characters will naturally narrate what they are doing on screen whenever they begin fiddling with machines and gadgets. And this includes Shuya Sophia Cai as Suyin’s eight-year-old girl, Meiying.
As the movie title suggests, the real star of the show is the huge-ass megalodon shark that is believed to be extinct, and has not been seen in millions of years. It is the albino prehistoric cousin of the great white shark, and is about three times longer. Eat your heart out, Jaws! No thanks to technology and human curiosity, the megaladon is unleashed from the depths of the ocean and is ready to feast.
The movie is the kind of brainless summer blockbuster you have been hoping for. The action sequences are over-the-top but glorious in its execution, and the violence is wild, silly and most importantly, fun. Although we were hoping to see more blood, we also understand the need to reach out to a larger crowd to make more moolah.
Fans who are hoping to see a gorier director’s cut will be disappointed it is unlikely to happen.
There have been countless shark films since Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking Jaws (1975), but most of them have been disappointments. Thankfully, this high-budget studio production, directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure: Book of Secrets), does not stoop to the stupidity levels of the Sharknado franchise (sharks in space – really?), and is a guilty pleasure to enjoy on a giant screen.
How do the humans fare? Statham is perfectly cast in this role, since he was a top-tier diver and a member of the national swimming squad before becoming an actor. The 51-year-old is capable of delivering uninspiring corny one-liners, and still make them sexy. There’s also an obligatory scene where the buff actor shows off his sculpted bod to his co-star, but let’s face it – if we were drowning in the seas, or were hunted by prehistoric sea creatures, we would count on this guy to save us.
But admit it, aren’t we all just here to see Statham go mano e mano with a monster megaladon; to see him stare it in the face, look it in the eye (trust us. It really happens in the film), and still be able to swim away with the girl, and her daughter.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Unleash the bloodthirsty animal instinct in you and cheer Jason Statham on as he kicks the ass of a colossal prehistoric shark!