Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica McNamee, Ruby Rose, BingBing Li, Cliff Curtis (Rated M – 113 min).
Spoiler alert: Pippin the dog lives! Forget logic, it doesn’t really matter during this big beautiful unrestrictive entertaining creature-feature with one of the few real modern cinema action men, Jason Statham (Lock, Stock, Two Smoking Barrels, Transporter) facing off to an unleashed Megalodon. It is what it is, dynamic-sized shark vs ultra-skilled human in a fight to the finish.
It begins quite realistically, following a submersible hit by an at first unseen underwater attacker. It traps the crew led by sleek operator Lori (Australia’s own Jessica McNamee) on the ocean floor until rescue, in the form of underwater rescue professional Jonas (Statham), arrives. Also the ex-husband of Lori, he maintained personal demons by going off the government grid due to past fatalities on the job, until now.
The deep sea base off the coast of China funded by loose American business man (Rainn Wilson) is full of an international team of marine scientists and technical experts now under threat by a potential dinosaur like humongous Shark known as The Meg. The thick-skinned monster has snuck through some kind of channel formed after Jonas went beyond orders to save Lori and crew. Some of the most fabulous scenes are long-shots or high-views of a cruising Meg on the prowl towards summer filled beaches or leisure crafts full of unsuspecting victims. Jaws will always be the mother of all shark films but there’s something about these predatory dorsel finned creatures from the abyss that continue to inspire filmmakers and delight audiences alike.
Effects are mostly great creating intensity with a few surprises I won’t spoil here. In and out of a wetsuit, it’s good to see fit Brit Statham seemingly doing many of his own aquatic stunts when not escaping chomping razor sharp teeth in front of a green screen. Australian glam it-girl Ruby Rose continues her rise among Hollywood in a feverishly quiet but cool role, looking terrific making a difference. Alongside fellow down under talent McNamee, they certainly bloom in the big blue. Ensemble cast are all quite good, remaining enthusiastic and quite aware of what the project is: entertaining action large bucket of popcorn fun. Sequel anyone: Meg vs Anaconda?
Shane A. Bassett