The Meg Review: A Lesson in the Art of a Mainstream B-movie

What do people more often than not count among their guilty pleasures?

B-grade monster movies. This past weekend saw one make it to the big screen nationwide. It was a glorious ride of testosterone and cheesy one-liners. Nothing more, nothing less. You got what you paid for.

With a solid all-around cast, including A-list action hero Jason Statham, this was not a film, or even a movie. This was a “flick,” and a fantastic way to spend a weekend evening unwinding after a week of work.

Besides the aforementioned Statham, “The Meg” features an international cast from across the globe, including Rainn Wilson of “The Office” fame, Bingbing Li of “The Forbidden Kingdom” and Ruby Rose with a multitude of action films under her belt in addition to “Pitch Perfect 3.” Based on a book by the same name, written by Steve Alten, it features our titular hero Jonas Taylor, played by the ‘80s action hero throwback Jason Statham, rescuing a submarine in danger from the thought to be extinct Megalodon, and the chaotic aftermath.

One of the key appeals to this is the banter between Statham and his fellow cast members, including the shark itself. “The Meg” is quite simply a classic B-movie in its substance, it just happens to have a big budget and a couple big name actors. The dialogue and the sight gags are by far the highlights of this movie, with quips and banter, tossed throughout the movie and the majority of the cast getting their chance to throw their own barbs in, the movie almost comes across as being partially ad-libbed, and doing a good job of it- dialogue that is particularly humorous in addition to heartwarming is between Statham and the eight-year-old character Meiying (played by Shuya Sophia Cai), with moments that manage to be both touching and hilarious.

The movie does suffer in a sense from it essentially being another monster movie. It features a lot of the same thematic beats used in other monster movies, with jump scares and moments of tension that one could almost set to a timer. It does have its own inherently limited audience in this day and age of repetitive comedies, blockbuster action, and overwrought intellectual ‘cinema’. It certainly won’t win any ‘Best Film’ awards, nor should it. You can easily and accurately predict the plot, which can take a bit away from the enjoyment.

Overall, this is just a plain fun movie. If you can get around the “paint-by-number” plotline and just turn your brain off for a bit, it’s a rollicking good time. Just watch Jason Statham talk smack to a monster shark. After a hectic week at work, sometimes that’s all you really need.

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