*Five years ago, Captain Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) only managed to save half his crew when his research submarine was crippled by a massive, 75-foot long shark thought to be extinct. Because the Navy brass was skeptical about the existence of a Megalodon, he was dishonorably discharged and lost not only his career, but his wife, to boot.
Ever since, he’s disappeared from public view, and has been rumored to be drinking heavily in Samut Prakan, Thailand. That’s where former colleague, Dr. Minway Zhang (Winston Chao), finds him after the prehistoric creature attacks again, leaving another submersible sitting on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
Dr. Zhang pressures him to sober up and take a shot at redemption, since he’s the only person alive who has ever successfully completed such a dangerous, deep sea operation. “I don’t dive anymore,” Jonas declares, but changes his mind upon learning that his ex, Lori (Jessica McNamee), is piloting the otherwise doomed vessel.
That is the compelling point of departure of The Meg, a harrowing horror flick which, despite being adapted from a novel by Steve Alten, might nevertheless be best described as a cross between Jaws (1975) and Jurassic Park (1993). The picture was directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) who walks a fine line here between lifting ideas from and paying homage to those two Spielberg screen classics.
Scene after scene feels vaguely familiar, like the one where a pet pooch named Pippin is ostensibly swallowed by the monster. In Jaws, a dog named Pippet disappears while playing fetch with his owner. Another deja vu arrives when the Meg improbably flies out of the water and lands on the boat hunting it. Where have I seen that before? You get the idea.
Provided you are willing to forgive such shameless supposed tributes, or are too young to have seen the originals, the film actually delivers a fairly riveting roller coaster ride. Since the genre has been dominated in recent years by the campy Sharknado franchise, Jurassic Jaws proves to be just the Rx needed to make sharks scary again!
*Excellent (3.5 stars)
*Rated PG-13 for action, peril, profanity and bloody images
*Running time: 113 minutes
*Production Studios: Warner Brothers Pictures / Gravity Pictures / Maeday Productions / Flagship Entertainment Group / Apelles Entertainment / Di Bonaventura Pictures
*Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures