Basically: A prehistoric monster-shark known as a megalodon wakes up hungry. So, um, stay out of the water.
At the start of THE MEG, Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) suffers a harrowing loss. An effort to save sailors from a downed nuclear sub ends with an attack from something huge. Taylor survives, barely, but his story of a leviathan monster is dismissed as a hallucination. Five years later, a deep sea research team is about to explore an unsuspected layer below the floor of Marianas Trench—not far from where Taylor survived the attack.
Led by Lori (Jessica McNamee), a trio of scientists delve into the depths of this aquatic wonderland, only to find they’re not alone. Attacked by the megalodon, they are stranded 15,000 feet down and only Taylor has the skills to rescue them—if he can overcome his dread of going back down into the water.
Photo: Daniel Smith
Needless to say, the megalodon doesn’t stay down deep for very long and soon Taylor—along with: Lori, mission expert Suyin (Bingbing Li), her father/oceanography legend Dr. Zhang (Winston Chao), Morris aka “the money” (Rainn Wilson), Taylor’s old diving buddy Mac (Cliff Curtis), and Suyin’s precocious daughter Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai)—is launched into a struggle to survive the onslaught of a shark that’s more than 90 feet long and insatiably hungry.
THE MEG doesn’t break much new ground in the genre of shark movies but it doesn’t need to either. Statham is his dependable rugged self, manfully overcoming his PTSD to do what he has to do. He is well matched in Li and the two have good chemistry. It doesn’t hurt that little Miss Cai is delightful as Meiying—often proving more sensible than the adults around her. There are more than abundant jump scares in the movie, as the titular meg strikes from all sorts of angles and viewers who like shark movies won’t have too much trouble identifying who’s likely to become “shark chow” (because you know this cast is going to be winnowed down quick). But even so, the supporting cast is likable and the action, once it starts, doesn’t let up.
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If the plot is familiar, being generally a mashup of several other movies, the acting is strong, the production design is gorgeous, and the effects help sell the brutal threat of a gigantic predator looking for its next meal. Even if you feel like you’ve seen it before, director Jon Turtletaub (working from an adaptation of the novel The Meg by Steve Alten) delivers a solid and enjoyable film.
In the end: THE MEG is a solid enjoyable movie—just be sure to wait an hour before you go swimming.