1 ½ (out of 4)
Without trying to answer the admittedly unbeatable standard set by Jaws, The Meg struggles to separate itself from the corn of recent revivals in selachophobia such as Open Water and Deep Blue Sea. A gnarly concept courtesy of its bestselling source material and a 130 million dollar budget at its idiotic disposal, the film hardly even stands in line with lesser efforts of late like The Shallows and 47 Meters Down.
Jason Statham may thrive when scrambling to keep himself alive in Crank or playing an impassive badass in the Transporter series, but his void of charisma could never have saved The Meg even if his life really depended on it. Unable to shepherd a paltry platter of shark fodder stock characters down a creature feature checklist, Statham fades into the same obscurity belonging to the film's decidedly weak cast.
Inverting the structure of Spielberg's breakout blockbuster classic with a discount James Cameron opening act, Jon Turtletaub's film manages to fall short of the C-tier director's own agreeably dumb output along the lines of National Treasure and its sequel Book of Secrets. The Meg botches just about every angle for maritime, flesh-eating thrills with recklessly impetuous pacing, stale camerawork and a softened, bloodless MPAA rating. The Meg's vacuum of excitement is populated with a collection of stereotypes, including a listless love interest (Li Bingbing), and padded out with prosaic attempts at scares and comic relief. Turtletaub ultimately leaves you with one of the most underwhelmingly moronic movies of the summer, straddling very little of the insanity and B-movie pleasures that its premise promises.
You're honestly better off watching Sharknado or any of its insipid sequels. The only thing monstrous about The Meg is its mediocrity.
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