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Tag Archive: Jason Statham movies


Review by C.J. Bunce

The trailers didn’t lie.  With only a month to go, The Meg might be the most fun movie you’ll see this summer.  The Meg has everything: a stellar international cast with plenty of chemistry, big action scenes, great sets, and even some drama.  For Jason Statham fans, look for another must-see Statham movie with his tough-as-nails deep-sea diver Jonas Taylor getting in and out of some big crises.  For fans of underwater adventure movies like The Abyss, Leviathan, and Sphere, a better movie has arrived.  A combined production from China and the U.S., it also pushes past last year’s much bigger budget action film The Great Wall–the combination of the two cultures from these films is setting up the future of action films.  If you liked the Pacific Rim franchise, recent Godzilla movies or Battleship, you’ll probably find The Meg a better all around production.  For an only PG-13 rating, it’s loaded with blood, chum, and other viscera (the newfound terror gobbles up plenty of characters both major and minor), but it balances that out with some good worldbuilding, likeable characters, and plenty of humor along the way.

The trailers also didn’t give anything important away.  Beginning with a John Hammond-esque deep-sea research base, we meet a perfect set-up of international personalities, led by Chinese superstar Bingbing Li (Resident Evil, Transformers series) as a scientist working with her father (1911 and Eat Drink Man Woman’s Winston Chao) on breaking through a new-found barrier to the deep sea.  The movie is really two films–the first a slowly-building drama detailing the background and players in the research facility, and the second a 1980s/1990s Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, or Steven Seagal action-rescue movie (think Cliffhanger, Under Siege, Striking Distance, Executive Decision), sensibly swapping out the much younger Statham (who played Stallone’s #1 guy in The Expendables series), the modern incarnation of this brand of action star.  For the action, we learn Statham’s Taylor quit diving for a rescue operation five years past that didn’t go as planned.  He returns thanks to an old friend working at the facility (played by Fear the Walking Dead’s Cliff Curtis) when Taylor’s ex-wife, played by Australian actor Jessica McNamee, is piloting an exploratory vessel, along with scientists played by Japanese-American actor Masi Oka (Heroes, Hawaii Five-O) and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, BFG), which runs aground with the help of a mysterious creature.  Rounding out the cast is The Office’s Rainn Wilson as the show’s Hammond, an Elon Musk-inspired exec who funded the facility, Rush Hour’s Page Kennedy as another scientist, and the new lead of the CW’s Batwoman, Ruby Rose, whose character designed the facility.  Rose proves in The Meg she’s got the right stuff to dawn that red cape.

Based on Steve Alten’s 1997 science-fiction/horror book Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, this fish tale is somewhat Michael Crichton-lite.  It’s surprisingly better than all the Jurassic sequels, as well as Crichton’s lesser action film adaptations like Congo and Sphere.  But the marketing may have set expectations off-kilter in one regard:  The shark–the megalodon–of the title may have you thinking Jaws or Sharknado.  It’s neither.  Think Godzilla and King Kong and you’ll be much closer.  The chemistry among the cast is what makes The Meg really stand out.  Statham and Bingbing Li (only six years apart in real life) make a great pair I’d love to see again.  Statham and Curtis seem like they really have been pals for years.  Young actor Sophia Cai may be the next best child actor, holding her own with both Statham, Li, Kennedy, and the rest of the crew.  The camaraderie of everyone involved and top-level production values (thanks to King Kong and The Lord of the Rings’ Oscar-winning production designer Grant Major) beg for a sequel or series.

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Jason Statham has a way with selecting movies that get noticed and re-watched.  Or credit his agent.  Seventeen years in big movies and still fighting the good fight in roles once played by Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis, he’s back this summer in what’s bound to be a big summer movie, battling a larger than life shark in The Meg.  The latest trailer shows this new big monster mash was actually made on a real production budget, unlike dozens of forgettable attempts to both impress and scare moviegoers for more than forty years since Steven Spielberg’s original Jaws (remember Piranha, Crocodile, Barracuda, and Alligator?).  Forget about the obviously goofy Sharknado series and see if this might bridge the gap between drama, humor, and jump-out-of-your-seat summer fun.  Take a look below and see if you agree The Meg has a chance at surpassing some of the better B-movie efforts at a sea monster movie, like Anaconda and Lake Placid.  

We first noticed Statham’s cool and cocky bravado under the direction of one of the all-time genre greats, John Carpenter, in Ghosts of Mars, playing opposite Pam Grier and Joanna Cassidy.  He quickly led the first of his three Transporter movies beginning in 2002.  Then he co-starred in one of the best heist movies of all time with an all-star cast in 2003’s The Italian Job, followed five years later in one of the best heist movies of all time without an all-star cast in The Bank Job.  And he’s co-starred in both The Fast and the Furious franchise and The Expendables, played Donald E. Westlake’s well-known crime lead in Parker, and starred in a dozen other single-word action flicks, including Collateral, Cellular, Revolver, Crank, Safe, and Redemption.  

Now it’s time to see Statham take on a giant squid and a not-so extinct megalodon aka “The Meg.”  The film is expected to score in the China market, also featuring major star Bingbing Li (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Resident Evil: Retribution).  The Meg also features a handful of familiar television actors, including The Heroes star Masi Oka.

Check out this fun trailer for The Meg:

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