By – Gareth Jones
For fans of brainless action films, monster movies, Jason Statham
A few weeks ago, I was challenged to write a review of a film that was unexpected. I usually review films that are independent, international, or under the radar. I have not written a review for a big Hollywood blockbuster. I thought that was a great idea.
I immediately thought about films from my childhood that are definitely brainless but were still very entertaining and still hold a spot in my cinematic heart. I am thinking of the ridiculous films The Land that Time Forgot (1974) and The People That Time Forgot (1977). These “loose” adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs were true comfort films for me as a youngster. I did see the second in the theater and the first later on cable and VHS. They were formative memories for me. As I got older, anytime these came on TV, I would get drawn back to these silly but entertaining films. Even today, I am thinking I need to stream these films (both available on TUBI) !
I feel that the equally over-the-top The Meg and The Meg II may hold a similar place for new generations.
The first film came out in 2018 and is directed by the serviceable Hollywood director John Turtletaub, most well-known for helming the National Treasure series. The premise is simple, a group of scientists are exploring the deepest depths of the ocean in hope of discovering new realms. Well, after submerging below the “thermocline” (a lovely scientific term abused in this case) to a world that has remained unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. In this world are the megalodon, gigantic sharks that, thanks to the hubris of man, find a way to get into the human world and cause havoc. Far from original, but a plot with potential.
This potential is greatly enhanced by the presence of one Jason Statham. We can either thank or blame Guy Richie for his ascent into the pantheon of action heroes. I must say, I could never have predicted this path when I saw the entertaining Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels back in 2000. He had charisma and confidence but there were no signs of the international bankroll action star that he has become over the past two decades. Personally, I always find him entertaining. Much like other great action stars, he has a charm and an understanding that all of this is farcical in nature. He is also a physical specimen that gives him just enough believability. He knows the material is absurd but he still gives his full effort to keep us amused.
The Meg II came out this year and had even more potential for a nudge,nudge, wink, wink, with the talented Ben Wheatley taking over directorial duties. His folk-horror trilogy and other perverse adaptations have put him on the radar for me as a director whose work I will always give a chance. He has stated that his main reason for doing this film was to work with Jason Statham, and I completely understand that desire. However, I also enjoyed how he subverted all of the world-building from the first film, completely changing characters, killing off the major love interest, and fully acknowledging that this is a diversion film. No hidden symbols or open endings here. Just embracing the pure silliness of the story and taking pleasure in having some mindless moments. Not every film needs to challenge us. Sometimes, we just need to laugh at a giant shark destroying humanity.
Available to stream on Max
Written by: Gareth Jones
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