• Nate Adams

Review: Jason Statham goes toe to toe with massive shark in dull 'The Meg'


Courtesy of Warner Bros. 

You can't have a summer movie going season without a deliriously stupid shark movie.

And that's what “The Meg” is: A guilty pleasure which features a gigantic prehistoric megalodon going toe to toe with Jason Statham. Director Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure”) has all the ingredients for a late splash of summer fun, although the film never embraces the wink and nod charm of past shark flicks (Blake Lively faced tougher odds in “The Shallows”) and can't seem to overcome a script that's too dull, even by the low standards this CGI-laden genre tends to bark up.

At least we have Statham – one of the best parts about this monster-sized flick – doing his thing as a disgraced sea captain named Jonas, who is called upon by a motley crew of marine biologists to save a team that's been capsized deep into ocean waters. In a MacGuffin too preposterous to explain, these scientists have been dabbling with a new eco system (beneath the core of the ocean) and have thus opened a portal for one pissed off ancestor. As one character yells “Did we just open an international highway for sharks?”

Yup. Sure did.

Our big aquatic friend has been unleashed into the vast open sea, which should promise a fair heaping of bloody carnage and mayhem, except the film is rated PG13 and instead shows much of the mutilations off-camera.

Regardless, there's brief spurts of life in this thing (Statham diving in more than once to stare down this beast with nothing but a harpoon is a caffeinated highlight) but the script has lines peppered in that forces all logic to withstand a crew that's supposed to be smart (among them a comedic-less performance from Rainn Wilson of “The Office.”) They drop cheesball one-liners that, often, don't add anything to the film, and it forces subplots that never develop (specifically between Jonas and a co-pilot played by Bingbing Li.) 

Plus, it takes some heavy digging in order to arrive at the much anticipated climax, where the titular creature feasts on a buffet of oblivious beach goers, and even then it's too little, too late.

I don't come to a film like “The Meg” for the script, but I'll stay for some hard R rated dismemberment. Sadly, that's never welcomed here as the film has been clearly amped up for a robust foreign box-office run, and to attract a family audience.

For an afternoon diversion on basic cable “The Meg” gets the job done. For a big studio blockbuster that's asking you to pay real money: stay home and watch reruns of Shark Week.

Grade: C