By Ryan Keating-Lambert

★★☆☆☆

The Meg tries to be the big ridiculous shark movie that you want it to be, but falls short from a devastatingly slow beginning, and an underwhelming backstory.

Deep sea rescuer Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) must come to terms with a traumatic past when he leads a rescue mission to save a group of marine biologists from the clutches of a gigantic megaladon shark.

On a scale of Jaws to Sharknado, The Meg ranks similarly to Renny Harlin’s big-budget 1999 shark movie Deep Blue Sea. It’s set in an underwater research lab and has similarly flat characters, but unlike Harlin’s cult classic, The Meg doesn’t feel as fun as it should be.

The film’s start is underwhelming. The sheer stupidity of the ‘scientists’ who decide that the ocean floor of the Mariana trench is not really the ocean floor but a gateway of sorts, is laughable and not in a fun way. The Meg takes itself way too seriously in the beginning. It tries to be the Jurassic Park of the ocean, and fails miserably.

The crew of the ‘MANA ONE’ sea lab is your standard action adventure movie crew. There’s Suyin (Bingbig Li) as the serious scientist, Rainn Wilson as the clueless and sort of funny millionaire funding the operation, Ruby Rose as the IT nerd who really needs to pick an accent and run with it, and of course Jason Statham as the hero with a chip on his shoulder. Clunky dialogue means the performances are terrible – are you surprised though? The best actor in this movie is probably the meg itself, although Suyin’s daughter played by Shuya Sophia Cai is cute.

What’s disappointing is that The Meg never really lets itself go, up until the final act, when we finally get to see the beast take on a string of popular beaches on the coast of China. This scene is probably the most entertaining in the film – that aqua-zorb moment was hilarious – I wanted to be in that movie, whatever it was – way more fun.

It just doesn’t pay off though. “I’m going to make this thing bleed” says Statham, and indeed he does, but not enough. People are going to go into this film expecting to see Statham punch a giant shark, but what they get is more of a half-assed slap.

The Meg isn’t a great monster movie, let alone a great shark movie, but there are some that will get into it. The film is a wonderful exercise in patience. Try to make it through to the all-you-can-eat buffet ending – it’s fun.

Photo: Vertical Entertainment

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