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The Meg

A toothless, pointless mess.

Guillermo Del Toro's original Pacific Rim knew exactly what it was: a modern day creature feature starring giant robots beating the living crap out of even bigger monsters. Everything the movie did - from the characters' background stories to the wacky scientists and even the burgeoning romance - was all there to serve a sole purpose: get us to the next massive monster bash. The entire exercise was big, silly and frequently confusing, but in the end it was all forgivable because Pacific Rim delivered the film it said it would.

The sequel, by contrast, made the fatal error of having as little robot vs monster fisticuffs as possible, and - to put things bluntly - it sucked. Here now in The Meg (short for Megalodon) is cinema's latest creature feature, and as to whether it's a Pacific Rim 1 or 2, it's about as big a disappointment as the shark you hardly get to see.

The setup, as far as sharksploitation films go, is actually pretty solid. A deep sea research project named 'Mana One' discovers the Marianas Trench is actually deeper than first thought, with a dense cloud of hydrogen-sulfide masking a deeper world that's remained untouched since the Jurassic period. It's here the scientists both discover and then accidentally release the proverbial Meg, setting the giant shark upon a course of murderous destruction as it explores the oceans above.

And wouldn't that have been great to watch! Instead, though, the film chooses to simply tell us it's happened, before sending its dull cast to merely survey the damaged remains and express regret about mankind's hubris. Much of the blame for that lies in the film's co-production arrangements with Chinese company Gravity Pictures, resulting in a family (and censor) friendly PG rating that strips the movie of almost all its gore. Truly, there's more bloody violence in a lamb ad than The Meg, robbing it of the sole reason for watching.

In the lead role, action man and former professional diver Jason Statham plays a deep sea rescue expert reluctantly drawn back into the world that abandoned him after a deadly incident some years prior. He's grizzled, cynical and a heavy beer drinker, yet still somehow more ripped than a carcass from a shark movie that would actually show that kind of thing. Statham, like Dwayne Johnson, is a delight to watch on screen, at once committed to the performance yet unmistakably aware of how ridiculous it all is. Even he, though, feels under-utilised in this film, relegated to delivering bad cliches in even more derivative scenarios. His co-stars don't fare much better, with the likes of Ruby Rose, Rainn Wilson and Chinese superstar Li Bingbing all trudging their way through this cheesy affair.

In all, there's just simply not enough Meg in The Meg to justify the price of admission, let alone the title. It's not good enough to be a good film, but also not bad enough to be a 'so bad it's good' b-movie in the vein of a Sharknado or Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus.

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