2018 | DIR: JON TURTELTAUB | STARRING: JASON STATHAM, RUBY ROSE, CLIFF CURTIS, RAINN WILSON | REVIEW BY GLENN COCHRANE.
A private deep-sea research facility discovers a subterranean chamber beneath the Mariana Trench (the deepest known point of the ocean) and when they break through the thermocline (geek speak for a thermal layer of dramatic temperature change) they release a prehistoric shark upon the world; Megalodon.. duh! This of course gives us a flimsy plot whereby a tough-as-nails rescue diver (Jason Statham) must jump in and save the day. True to convention his ex-wife also happens to be part of the research team, as well as a billionaire investor (Rainn Wilson), a punk computer geek (Ruby Rose) and their captain (Cliff Curtis). There are other characters too, but I've forgotten them already.
With lots of chasing and chomping the movie defies all logic and maintains a rapid-fire barrage of action. And if you're like me you will greet each preposterous encounter with a belly laugh and some kind of “as if” response. Whether you facepalm the constant dopiness of the characters, spit your coffee whenever the megaladon circles back or sit in disbelief at the awful set design... it soon becomes apparent that you're actually enjoying the ridicule. In fact if you were to play a drinking game while watching the movie, taking a shot for every time they yelled “there it is!” you would be maggoted before the half-way mark.
My reviews generally leave a paragraph to acknowledge the cast and their performances, but there is nothing here to critique... I mean, well... there IS, but it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. There are no good performances here. There aren't even any mediocre ones. They're all bad.
The production of THE MEG has been a notoriously troubled odyssey in Hollywood with studios tussling to get it made. At one point director Jan de Bont (Speed) was attached, as well as Guillermo del Toro and Eli Roth. In the end the job went to Jon Turteltaub (Cool Runnings, National Treasure 1 & 2) who is quite a reliable filmmaker, although his body of work - which also includes The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Instinct and Phenomenon – hardly indicates that this is the right material for him to pursue. He was the wrong guy from the get-go and in adapting the popular 1997 novel by Steve Alten he has added bologna to what was already a hammy story.
There is nothing good about THE MEG and it would be disingenuous for me to recommend it, and I would sooner steer you towards the Asylum's Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus and its sequels. But what I can say is that sometimes we need to remember what cinema is all about... escapism, and if you're looking for reality then watch Shark Week instead. Think of THE MEG as a big budget creature feature B-movie... Invite your friends over, grab a pizza and drink lots of booze. You have permission to talk over this movie... trust me, it will make it worthwhile.