Published on August 8th, 2018 | by gareth0
The long journey to bring “The Meg” to the big screen is finally over as Author Steve Alten’s classic book series has arrived.
The film stars Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor, an expert in underwater rescues who has to makes a very difficult choice when a rescue goes bad after suffering a very unexpected encounter mid-rescue.
Five years later Jonas is out of the rescue game as he has been labeled as unreliable and prone to PTSD so he drinks his time away in Thailand working on local boats.
200 miles off the coasts of China is an advanced research lab which is the pet project of a Billionaire named Morris (Rainn Wilson), who arrives in time to witness an attempt by the crew to go deeper than ever thought possible by going through a layer that was previously believed to be the ocean floor. The experiment works and the crew is amazed by their new discoveries until something violently attacks their ship leaving them stranded on the bottom of the ocean.
With a limited amount of air and time ticking away, Jonas is recruited despite his numerous refusals as not only is one of the stranded people his ex; but the last transmission sent by the sub mentions how Jonas had been right all along when he had years early claimed they were not alone during the rescue attempt gone bad.
Jonas is teamed with a spirited member of the team named Suyin (Bingbing Li), who has taken a sub down ahead of Jonas as she was not willing to wait for outside help to arrive. She locates her comrades and is attacked by a massive shark long thought extinct.
The harrowing rescue goes off but again Jonas is faced with a no-win situation and is blamed by a former colleague for the issues.
While Morris is eager to exploit the new find for the huge financial opportunity it presents, their plans change when the creature emerges from its contained area and threatens a level of carnage on the seas the likes of which society and the ecosystem are very unprepared for.
What follows is a frantic and often intense series of engagements as Jonas and the crew must battle the massive and deadly creature and find a way to survive.
The film has some very solid effects and the intensity at times had people in the press screening partially covering their eyes during some of the more harrowing moments.
The cast is solid and work well with one another as the film does what it can to keep some of the characters from being little more than generic victims for the Meg.
The movie does differ from the book in terms of being set off China versus California but this was largely due to the joint-production with Chinese owned Gravity Pictures. The film is also much less gory than the book as Director Jon Turteltaub was mandated to deliver a PG-13 film by the studio to improve the odds of returning on the $150.00 million invested in the film.
The dialogue is also a bit stilted and formulaic in parts but action films are not known for their complex plots or advanced dialogue and I attributed this largely to the challenges of a blended cast; many of whom do not speak English as their primary language.
Despite a delay from its planned 2017 release date, “The Meg” is a solid and fun action-thriller that gives audiences one of the best excuses not to go swimming since “Jaws”. While there have been numerous Shark films over the years, “The Meg” deftly weaves good sets and production values with a top-notch cast and lavish visuals to bring the film to life.
With several other books in the series already available, I hope we see the next film surface in a few years as I cannot wait to see what comes next.
4 stars out of 5