When Jason Statham jumps off a boat after a friend who is being pulled into the depths of the ocean by a giant prehistoric shark, another character screams not in fear but in excitement, almost echoing the emotions of any average viewer out looking for some plain old fun on a lazy weekend at the local IMAX screen. Yes, when it’s about a giant shark you have to have a giant enough screen too. If it’s in 3D, all the more better. But this is no Jaws mind you, The Meg is more Deep Blue Sea than any other shark film from our collective memory as viewers. It’s exactly how a monster film would look like if AI was asked to make one, without the discriminatory algorithms of course. People are at risk of being eaten by the shark irrespective of barriers like gender and race. Still if you do have to watch it, do that at a cinema with the best screening facilities.
There’s absolutely nothing novel about the plot simply because with such film formats you as a maker either choose between jaw dropping CGI or a moving storyline and there are no prizes for guessing what’s on sale here or you could ask Marvel to make a shark movie. Rich investor, good scientist, reluctant hero, jump scares, the movie has it all and more. It’s basically Jurassic Park set in the sea only this shark isn’t cloned. Within the limitations of the genre, The Meg tries earnestly to deliver a fun 113 minutes for the audience and much banks on the broad shoulders of Statham and his on screen persona as the tough guy with a sense of humor.The makers have tried every trick in the monster movie handbook to keep the proceedings on screen interesting. They do get most of it right unless of course you’re at the movies with National Geographic or Science journals on your mind. Not much on screen time is wasted here. The shark doesn’t wait around much and is quick to attack and kill. Statham and his co stars too are quick with the acts of saving lives, the mandatory self sacrifices and the dumb moves which are integral to the genre.
Two of the last surviving action heroes of our times who aren’t part of the Marvel or DC Universes , Statham and Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock have had curiously similar cinematic turns recently I’d say. Rock recently took on a giant Gorilla ,a giant crocodile and a giant wolf in Rampage. Then he saved his family from a fire in a Hong Kong skyscraper in the eponymous film. Here Statham battles a giant shark to save his Chinese friends and a whole crowded Chinese beach towards the end. Trump wouldn’t be too pleased I think but then he isn’t the one funding the films. Or he could simply ask Marvel to take a pause and let the likes of Rock and Statham to do what they do best, save the day that is, but exclusively in the USA.