By Anna Husted
EBS Film Critic
“The Meg” is the perfect summer movie. While it’s not likely to win any awards, “The Meg” is entertaining with great one-liners, non-stop action and a dopey, yet endearing over-sized cast. Did I mention every scene features British actor Jason Statham fighting a giant shark?
Jonas Taylor (Statham) is the only surviving member of a deep-sea expedition that was thwarted by a megalodon shark, the largest predator to ever live on earth. Years later, a group of scientists that includes Jonas’ ex-wife, accidentally runs into the beastly shark and allows it to pass through a heat pocket so that it is able to rise to the surface. The only man on earth who can stop the shark from wreaking havoc across the Asiatic coast is Jonas.
Jonas teams up with the largest supporting cast since “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the larger the cast, the more characters the meg can eat. Few come out unscathed, but they’re not on screen long enough for viewers to even remember their names, let alone figure out what other TV show or movie we know them from. Some key players include Suyin (BingBing Li), her father Zhang (Winston Chao), and her daughter Meiying, who are all on board an underwater research center when the meg starts to attack.
Then there’s the billionaire funding the research, Morris, played by an underused Rainn Wilson, and let’s not forget about Jaxx, the scientist who invents a diving cage she swears is shark-proof: “It’s unbreakable,” she says. But destruction isn’t the only threat because the megalodon acts like a 70-foot anaconda, swallowing the cage whole.
Sure, the plot has holes, and holes in the ocean floor have unscientifically-based heat pockets, but the movie is hilarious and action-packed. “The Meg” references almost every shark movie you can think of from “Finding Nemo” to “Sharknado” to “Jaws,” and does so in a way that makes you laugh even though it takes its shark-killings seriously.
With quite a few scares and surprises that will make you jump, “The Meg” doesn’t disappoint and doesn’t try to be anything but a summer popcorn flick.
As we know from Statham’s turn as Deckard Shaw in the Fast and the Furious franchise, his cheesy comedic one-liners mid-stunt is his signature move. And it works in “The Meg” just as well as it did in “Fate of the Furious.”
Between Statham’s gravitas in such a frivolous movie; the movie’s stereotypical ethnic jokes; and the meg’s ability to sneak up on everyone, including the audience, “The Meg” makes for a downright pleasing summer film.
And if I’ve learned anything from “The Meg” it’s that what you think you know might still come back to bite you.
“The Meg” is playing at Lone Peak Cinema through Sept. 6.
Anna Husted has a master’s in film studies from New York University. In Big Sky she can be found at the movies at Lone Peak Cinema or hiking up a mountain. When not gazing at the silver screen or watching her new favorite TV show, she’s running, fishing or roughhousing with her cat, Indiana Jones.