How can a movie about Jason Statham fighting a giant, prehistoric shark be this dull?
For those not in the know, here’s the premise; Jason Statham fights a giant, prehistoric shark. As infantile shlockbuster pitches go ‘The Meg’s is certainly simple and, honestly, not without appeal. Don’t pretend you’re not a bit curious to see Jason Statham fight a giant, prehistoric shark. What should essentially be a violent children’s film with the thinnest veneer of post Fast and Furious irony-tainment turns into more of a dull trudge through mostly uninspired CGI set pieces. The only amazing thing is how unremarkable this all is.
The dialogue is mostly a grey pablum of Hollywood clichés. The gruff hero grunts. The comic relief makes dick jokes as the women alternate between rolling their eyes, scold-like, or screaming for help. Shame. A good cliché can be a thing of joy. This is just vapour between action sequences.
But who cares about talking? What about the shark action? I’m sorry to say it’s mostly uninspired with an over reliance on ropey effects. There is also, oddly, a heavy emphasis on dialogue to tell us the changing stakes. A character will tell us they’ve become trapped. Another will tell us the shark is heading for a beach. Character three interjects to explain to us that the beach has people on it. Why they don’t cut to each of these things is a mystery.
Jon Turteltaub, as well as having an adorable name, has previous form directing glossy, fun movies ranging from Cool Runnings to the National Treasure series. Perhaps in cutting out the ‘R’ rated gore that was initially shot the filmmakers hobbled themselves. What remains often feels hodge podge.
That said, there are glimmers here and there. A few scenes do manage effective moments of tension and there are one or two moments where The Meg delivers the kind of spectacle you want. These moments are passing driftwood. You can cling to them for a minute but you’re still drowning. This really is the Bertie Ahern speech of giant shark movies.