Lurking in the depths of the Pacific Ocean is something very, very scary – according to former deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), who now spends his time in a drunken stupor on Thailand’s waterfront after a questionable decision cost him his career and his marriage. Summoned by billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) to a deep-sea research facility called Mana One, located 200 miles off the coast of China, Jonas discovers that his ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) is trapped in a tiny submersible 11,000 meters down, beneath a layer of hydrogen sulfide in the Mariana Trench which, apparently, covers an even deeper canyon.
That’s where a Carcharodon Megalodon, supposedly extinct for millions of years, is prowling.
“There’s something out there!” “It’s huge!” “And it’s moving fast!”
Accompanied by experienced oceanographer Suyin (Bingbing Li), whose father is Mana One’s head honcho, Dr. Zhang (Winston Chao), Jonas goes after the prehistoric, cheapo computer-generated 75’-long leviathan.
Based on Steve Alten’s pulpy “MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror” (1997), it’s blandly scripted by Dean Georgaris, Jon Koeber & Eric Koeber and unimaginatively directed by Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure,” “Last Vegas).
Absurdities abound – none more ridiculous than trying to pass off a sinewy hunk in as superb shape as Jason Statham as someone who’s been debauched in alcohol for the past five years. On the other hand, as an actor, Statham shows more genuine emotion here than in his past cinematic outings, even cracking an occasional smile in scenes with young Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cal).
Then there’s totally predictable chaos, reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975), when the Meg heads towards a tourist haven, terrorizing hundreds of beachgoers, including a young boy begging to go back in the water. And the endangered Yorkie is named Pippin, just like the lab in “Jaws.”
For other shark scares, see “Open Water” (2004) and “Sharknado” (2013).
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Meg” swims in with a schlocky 6. It’s a splashy, by-the-numbers sea-monster movie.