Plot: A bleeding edge aquatic research center is on the brink of a potential landmark moment, as a small submersible has been dispatched to travel deeper in the ocean than any previous explorers. The trek relied on a theory that what was once thought of as the ocean floor was just an illusion, a theory proven correct when the crew is able to drop below that level. The sights are wondrous to behold of this hidden aquatic world, but the crew has little time to soak it in, as a mysterious creature disables communications and strands those inside. At the research center, it is decided only one man can mount a rescue mission to save the crew, a burnt out diver with a checkered past named Jonas (Jason Statham. Jonas has been in exile his last mission resulted in him making a brutal call to leave some of his crew behind when a massive creature slammed into the middle of a rescue operation, though no one believed him. Now that it is clear he was telling the truth, can he put the past aside to rescue the crew and if so, will he push on to reveal the mysterious creature once and for all?
Entertainment Value: The Meg is a movie that knows what it is and embraces the b movie side of cinema, delivering a big budget slice of sharksploitation that makes an impressive splash. The narrative is simple enough, Jason Statham versus a massive, ancient shark with some science lingo, family drama, and even light romance mixed in to flesh out the thrill ride. I do think there’s more exposition than needed at times, but otherwise the story works well enough and does what it needs to, which is assemble a colorful band of characters, then line them up to be potential shark food, in a series of wild set pieces. The movie shines when it runs with the wackiness and that happens often, with ridiculous action sequences and of course, we get to see Statham go one on one with the monstrous behemoth. I do wish The Meg stuck with the wild, b movie elements more often and didn’t try to shoehorn in drama and emotion, as those parts of the movie sink like a stone. A kid and a dog in danger are all the tension this kind of schlock needs, but for some reason the writers wanted to be a little serious at times, which I think was a mistake. I also want to mention that this is no horror movie, so don’t expect buckets of blood and gruesome kills, as The Meg is more action/comedy than beast driven horror picture. Even so, there’s a lot of fun to be had here and for a big, splashy b movie, The Meg more than earns its keep and as such, more than warrants a look from genre fans.
This movie has a colorful ensemble of performers, led by Jason Statham and of course, is no stranger to big, loud b movie style action pictures. He isn’t tasked to do a lot in The Meg aside from look cool and deliver one liners, but he does what he needs to do and is believable as the kind of lunatic who would punch a shark. The movie is aware that Statham is just around to look and act cool, as it references as much several times, which adds some humor. His presence also keeps things a little grounded, as he isn’t as over the top or outlandish as some of his peers. I can only imagine Nicolas Cage in the same role and while it would be hilarious and ridiculous, it would also alter the tone of The Meg, to say the least. I also want to mention Ruby Rose, who doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but turns in one of 2018’s worst performances. She is as wooden as an oak tree and despite her edgelord, always wet hair, she comes off as so forced, but then again, this kind of terrible performance is good in a b movie like this one. Rainn Wilson is also fun, but I do wish he was able to dial things up even more, as he teeters on the brink often and I just wanted him to have a total freakout at times. The cast also includes Cliff Curtis, Li Bingbing, Robert Taylor, and Winston Chao.
The Disc: The Meg has been given the 4k treatment from Warner Brothers and the movie simply sparkles in this treatment, as the film’s beautiful visuals really come to life and hook you in. The colors are natural, but tuned to the vibrant end and pop off the screen at times, especially toward the finale, when we see an ocean of colorful flotation devices from a distance. No issues with contrast either, as black levels are deep and rich, ensuring detail is strong even in the darker sequences. The image is so refined, detail is remarkable and even the smallest of elements is crystal clear. I would rank this easily as reference level material, it looks that impressive. The extras include two promotional featurettes, one on the creation of the shark and the other a more general look behind the scenes.