The Meg (2018) - USA / China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
The premises of action star Jason Statham taking on a mega shark seems like a perfect disaster B-movie. Little did anyone expected it to become a worldwide box office hit with taking of over US $500 million to date. Coupled with headlining the film with bankable Chinese star Li Bing Bing, the film highlights one of the few success story for a Hollywood and Chinese co-production and perhaps a formula template for similar successes in the future. For the Hollywood generation who grew up watching “Jaws”, “The Meg” is more of the same for the newer generation of movie goers, it shows that a proven formula works and one thing the film does well is make the most of its cheesiness and throw it’s heroes Statham and Lee into the most ridiculous situations and still manages to come up with the laughs and entertainment value.
Statham is probably the most bankable action star alongside The Rock in the current Hollywood landscape where many of his action counterparts hoover around former glories in the VOD spectrum. There is nothing groundbreaking about this role and certainly the same gritty Statham that we have seen in most of his career. The fact that he manages to battle the giant shark and still comes off convincing, credits should be given. Likewise Li Bing Bing is given a tough female character role that is not often seen in Hollywood for Chinese characters. Lee shows good presence and manages to hold her own against both Statham and the shark.
All in all, “The Meg” probably does not deserve its level of commercial success, but it’s a welcoming box office win as we have not have these kind of movies for a long time. Director Jon Turteltaub shows that with the right ingredients and marketing, people will still turn up to cinemas and in terms of cheesy B-movie disaster flick, this one is just about entertaining enough. For action fans, this is good news as Hollywood need more bankable action stars. As for Li Bing Bing, welcome to Hollywood.
I rated it 6.5/10