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The Meg Movie Review (2018) | A Stale Shark Tale

The Meg movie is yet another stale Shark movie that’s not up to the mark. While it tries to bite on “how big this time the shark is” factor, it fails to leverage it properly. Jon Turteltaub‘s creation is an instant fail when he decides to speed up every attack the shark does to hide a proper closeup. It’s like packaging cheap thrills inside every moment to look out for. Unfortunately, that paints a very unrealistic picture. Rushing in of the shark is so sudden and deliberate that you are always prepared for it. Owing to that the flick fails to deliver real tension. The horror you feel doesn’t feel justified.

Somewhere Jon fails to leverage a monster in the sea and I don’t know how good Steve Alten (the writer of a series of Meg novels) is, but to bring a gargantuan shark from the deepest trench of the ocean and not to cash in on its sensational size and the horror that emanates naturally, feel like a dud shot, a missed opportunity. It is not visually appealing either. The cinematography is just meh!

There was so much poetry in 2015’s In the Heart of the Sea that it makes Meg feel like its written in a farcical universe. You pay attention to the screenplay of The Meg and you realize how witless it is. There is nothing of value for perceptive minds to chew on. Then you turn your attention towards its humour. Entertaining movies have at least that for the rescue. Unfortunately, it is not that funny either, even though one of its characters suddenly goes for it as the movie swims to the finish line.

Characters in The Meg

The Meg movie’s characters cannot be taken seriously. The protagonist Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is like a superhero in the vanguard who doesn’t miss any chance to encounter the behemoth even though he narrowly escapes almost every onslaught. He is a man with a mouth which eventually ends up drooling for Suyin (Bingbing Li) and vice versa. The chemistry they bring to the table is just pathetic. Suyin feels like a paper thin Barbie doll incapable of eliciting emotions. While Jonas seems like as if he is trying too hard.

still of Jason Statham in The Meg movie

The child actress Meiying’s (Shuya Sophia Cai) presence is barely for the contrast she puts up against the mammoth sized fish. Then she is there just to fix her mommy up with any potential hubby material guy. There was a lot we could have done with her given what a liability she was but instead they end up turning her into a pimp.

Some of the characters in The Meg movie are just there without a purpose. Wink at Ruby Rose as Jaxx. It’s almost like the casting peeps said:

“Hey! You look cool. You are in.”

Many are dispensable while many dispensable characters end up surviving. Jonas has an ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) and you can’t pinpoint why she is there in the movie in the first place. Oh right! Just to stay as bait to Meg, so that Jonas says yes to the mission?

Cliff Curtis has so much potential I don’t know why he signs up for movies where he is always sidelined as a supporting actor.

The Theme of The Meg Movie

When you talk about the plot of the movie, it can be dissected into two halves where the first part focuses on a limited world, the one curious about the things that are underneath a thermocline in the form of a research station called Mana One. The second part capers a bit on the outside where the real action is driven. You know, with the same old cliched deadly fin that a shark deliberately shows to tell its exact location.

The First Half

In the first half, Lori ends up stranded with two of her colleagues when their submersible is attacked by an unknown creature. With the reputation Jonas has with his past rescue missions, he is sent off into the trench where the team is stranded. He manages to rescue them but one who makes his own choice.

The creature is then identified as a Megalodon, the largest shark there was, believed to be extinct. Owing to an explosion in the thermal vent, the Megalodon escapes the thermocline and enters the ocean.

Then begins the hunt to hunt it down using etorphine to poison it. They succeed in that but soon the twist happens when they realize they had killed a much smaller Megalodon, that there were two Megs that had escaped the thermocline and not just one. The real Meg upends their boat destroying everything in its wake.

Morris (Rainn Wilson) the owner of Mana One assures the crew that he had informed the naval forces who would take it from there. The lying prick he was, he goes on to hunt Meg down in the middle of the night with depth charges but ends up getting killed. When the crew comes to know about it, they resume their mission to track and hunt the shark down chasing it to a beach it was headed toward.

Sanya Bay – The Second Half

You give a sigh of relief when you finally see a beach for a change. Memories from the past come rushing down on you. If this bit wasn’t in the movie it would have been one hell of a boring movie. But hey just hold that thought! It doesn’t last very long. You get to have some fun with all the clueless people enjoying in the waters as our antagonist swims right underneath them.

still of a small dog in the meg movie

The Mana One crew then use a whale call to divert the attack, luring the shark towards them. Suyin and Jonas then try to kill it with the help of torpedoes but fail. Jonas then uses his damaged sub’s part to cut the shark open. Then stabs him in the eye with a poisoned spear. Jeez! Jason, do you ever stop being Satan?

Then the rest of the sharks come and finish it off. Phew!

Thinking Back

A lot of times the Meg movie feels like ending. When you get to it and try to think back of what you just saw, try to sum it all up, it feels like a bad adventure. That there was so little in content that the movie feels as if it is coiled up in just one place. But then The Meg movie doesn’t end at such an hour, instead tries to trace the footsteps of the classic Jaws by Steven Spielberg where the real action happens near a beach with a lot of people entailed.

But then again it barely skims it. There is no real tension, no proper horror that has your heart in your mouth. You are not dead scared like you were with Jaws. The impracticality of it all flushes the fish down the toilet. Meg becomes something that’s less of an adventure sans all the thrill you expected when you entered the cinema hall.

If you try to look at the good things, you realize things are always happening for a reason that the movie was kept intact in terms of filmmaking. The director knew what he was doing except what he was doing wasn’t terrifying enough and didn’t justice to a monster in the sea.

You can order The Meg movie from here:

The Final Verdict

With so many shark movies out there, I don’t know where I’d place this one if not at the bottom. I think 2016’s The Shallows was a lot better if you try hard to think of a new age shark story in times where we can easily handle a shark of any size. At least its backdrop was such that you took it for real. Here it’s hard to take anything seriously.

xXx Return of Xander Cage Review (2017) | He Shouldn’t Have Returned

Mindless action! xXx Return of Xander Cage bends laws of physics, banks on cliched action at times to deliberately showcase what its director thinks “would look cool” stunts. It has cheesy lines galore, and a really insipid plot in its baggage. The worst however remains, that instantly piercing and bothering demeanour that Vin Diesel wears throughout the flick. His smugness is the worst. It makes you go, “Is this guy for real?” Overlook Vin and you see how hollow, cliched, stupid and pointless the whole movie is.

Plot of xXx Return of Xander Cage (Spoilers)

Presumably dead the legend, Xander Cage (the one who gets on your nerves avatar of Vin Diesel) from the first one, is hunted down by CIA to bring a stolen device called Pandora’s Box back. It is a device that can ensue destruction on a massive scale, since it holds the reins of military satellites. To successfully complete the mission he hires his own team, deliberately throwing an unprepared bunch of soldiers out of a moving plane. Whaaaat?

Wait, that’s nothing. He breaks a gun, yes! a frigging gun with his knees just to prove a point! He brags a lot about himself, or let others go on and on about him, which gets on your nerves.

To make matters further indigestible, he goes on a bike chase in the sea. I repeat, in the sea! When that’s going on, you wonder if they plan on ever stopping. A water station maybe? To get some gas? They appear as if they were planning on crossing the ocean on their bikes.

The Competition

His competition is Xiang portrayed by Donnie Yen who is the guy Cage is supposed to race to get the Pandora’s box before he does. Xiang has plans of his own and a team too. Eventually both the teams end up joining hands to fight the double crossing government instead. In words of Sebastian from La La Land:

“It is all very very exciting.”

All seemingly cool frames seem very deliberately created just to prove a scene. There is one bit that shows Cage playing with grenades with Xiang and Serena (Deepika Padukone). What a way to make a conversation! *Facepalm* It is hands down one of the most forced scenes in the movie, and makes it very laughable. You know, spoofs get made because of such absurdity!

image of Vin Diesel Deepika Padukone and Donnie Yen in xXx Return of Xander Cage movie

Oh wait! Cage gets shot too. You know when in a movie hero would get shot, a voice in your head would always go, “he must be wearing a bulletproof vest? Or the bullet might have been stopped by an impenetrable object? Well the former’s your answer.

Yes, the story is as if a kid wrote it. I remember thinking all that stuff when I was five.

All the Shooting

Then there is that cliched gun fight scene too, where two badass chicks come out in the open and then shoot at random army of villains who somehow never stop coming. Yes the one where they are leaning against each other’s backs to look dope. Yeah! It’s all in there.

Just then to break the monotony, everyone’s bullets run out, and you predict the director has something up his sleeve, in comes the protagonist from the second part, which was an even shittier movie. Ice Cube comes with a grenade launcher reprising his role as Darius Stone and the music in the background turns into a rap. It is supposed to mean the “Lord is here!”

Tony Jaa gets a role of a psychotic fighter who looks like he has been on a strict Red Bull diet all his life. Nina Dobrev plays the one fun character that we have seen in so many movies before that it should actually cease to exist. But no! Every movie has it.

Deepika Padukone doesn’t cause any ripples either. She seems weirdly out of place whenever she comes to do her bit. Her icky walk to meet Xiang would make you wonder what the director must have been expecting to see, and what came out as a result. And he chose to include it too.

And what’s with the tats? The director D.J. Caruso seems like he must have been saying: We should not leave the tattoo! Let him wear a Capri so that the tattoos show!

Worthy Bits

If you still expect something cool to happen, then it is Donnie Yen’s fight bits that takes off the heat for a while. You watch him go full Ip Man on rogue soldiers and you get your money’s worth then and there with his badass action moves. Inclusion of known faces from the past, like Darius Stone too at one point makes you smile.

Amongst other worthy scenes, okay, now I am drawing a blank.

If you are a huge Vin Diesel fan, you can still watch it.

You can buy xXx Return of Xander Cage from here:

The Final Verdict

xXx Return of Xander Cage is nothing but a fully flawed flick. If you are a diehard Vin Diesel fan, and are ready to accept him in every avatar he portrays, this movie might make you happy.

To be honest, nobody remembers the first XXX movie. Now when did that happen? 15 years ago! I was a kid back then and might have mistakenly considered Xander Cage to be cool.

So far Vin has been mighty successful in the Fast and Furious series. He should stick to that. Because at least the direction and story there weaves up something worth watching. It lets us digest all the nonsensical stunts.

You can check out the trailer of xXx Return of Xander Cage here: