This long-gestating adaptation of Steve Alten's post-Jurassic Park, techno-thriller novel should've been a slam dunk. But, though not without moments of minor inspiration, the New Zealand-shot blockbuster is for the most part a rather wet affair.
Jason Statham stars as Jonas Taylor, a deep sea rescue specialist who left the industry after an encounter with a giant prehistoric shark during a submarine evacuation. He was thought to be crazy for claiming such things at the time, but everyone believes him now, as said shark – known as a Megalodon, and thought to be long extinct – has shown up again and started causing trouble for the staff of a sea-based research station off the coast of China.
Although the shark attack genre has been dragged down over time by an endless parade of bad CGI-laden D-grade efforts (not to mention a certain tornado-centric franchise), there remains a place in the blockbuster world for a decent shark movie, but The Meg can't decide if it wants to be silly or serious, and never really succeeds as either.
Self-awareness is all well and good in a giant shark movie, but not when it undercuts the tension.
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The bid for as wide an audience as possible also results in a disappointing lack of gore – there are no standout death scenes. And a film like this shouldn't have to strain so hard to come up with reasons for its characters to get in the water.
I was rarely bored, and the cast remains appealing, but I'm not going to think twice about going for a dip in the ocean this summer.
Cast: Jason Statham, Ruby Rose, Rainn wilson
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Running time: 113 minutes
Verdict: Lacks bite.