There seems to be a trend emerging of Chinese funded movies taking well-established movies and making them bigger. Earlier this year we had Skyscraper which was basically giant Die Hard, and now we have The Meg which is basically giant Jaws.
There have been very few in the way of decent shark movies lately. Thanks to The Asylum and their godawful Sharknado and Mega Shark outings, bigger studios have mostly steered clear that genre for more lucrative waters. Let’s all give a whoop and a cheer then for the Chinese market, who will watch just about anything if the Transformers franchise is anything to go by.
The Meg, a Chinese-American co-production, stars Jason Statham and some other people that don’t matter, fighting a Megalodon that was awoken at the bottom of the ocean and is hungry for people meat. That’s honestly about as much setup as anyone needs, and while the film doesn’t wholly deliver it’s still a lot of fun while it’s running.
A lot of this is down to Jason Statham, who looks like he’s having the time of his life here. Frustratingly he seems to be the only one aware of the film he’s in, as everyone else either takes it a bit too seriously or simply doesn’t have the chops to get away with being tongue-in-cheek towards the material (looking at you, Ruby Rose).
You know what, let’s actually all take a moment to recognise the joy that the Stath has brought to audiences all over the world. From The Transporter to Spy, via those weird “You Are Not a Salmon” Kit-Kat adverts, he’s allowed us to laugh with his style of action movies, rather than at them. Kudos to you, Mr Statham.
On another slight tangent, I for one am a little bit delighted that we’re getting proper genre films now because China are finally watching movies from the West. Sure they’re a bit rubbish at the moment, but as long as Asian markets are clamouring to see these movies we’ll hopefully continue to get something a bit different to the standard studio fare of recent years.
For now though we’ve got The Meg to keep us company. Again it’s fun while it lasts, though it probably has more of a life on Netflix than the big screen. It’s big and dumb, but I’m glad that a film about a giant shark had such a wide opening.