20 August 2018

Bigmouth Strikes Again

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Wes Anderson's vastly underrated The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou tells the story of an oceanographer that intends to hunt a rare shark after it had previously eaten his friend. When he finds it, his plan is to kill it, although he's not quite sure how yet.. “maybe dynamite”. When asked what the scientific purpose of killing the shark might be, Zissou thinks for a second and then deadpans his response, “revenge”. Jason Statham's latest film The Meg is pretty much that exact same movie but rather than having the genius stylings of Wes Anderson and the comedy God Bill Murray, it has The Stath and a massive fuck-off Shark. Did you see the film Spy in which Statham played an exaggerated version of his on-screen persona? Well in that he's constantly exaggerating about all of the mad shit that he's supposedly done and it wouldn't be out of the question for him to have claimed that he'd kicked a pre-historic shark in the fucking teeth. In which case I'd say that The Meg is actually a remake of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou but if the script had been re-written by The Stath's character from Spy. 

Sadly his character in Spy doesn't seem to be the brightest bulb in the box which might explain some of the film's short-comings here. The Meg is about a group of scientists who think that the seafloor is actually a kind of misty layer of what looks like Aquaman's jizz and that below it will be an extra bit of ocean to explore. A small submarine goes down to investigate, only to find itself stuck when it's attacked by a large but unknown creature. Panicked, the trapped group's mates decide to enlist the help of The Stath who is reluctant to involve himself in their rescue for about four tense seconds before agreeing and going balls-in for the rest of the film. Despite having being considered extinct for millions of years, it turns out that The Stath already has a grudge with the shark after it had previously attacked a submarine that he was trying to rescue. As a result, The Stath's reputation as a professional merman was ruined with most people assuming that his claims of a 70ft shark were simply proof that he'd finally gone as mad as he looked. 

I suppose I should mention that this entire thing is funded by a billionaire played by Rainn Wilson who appears to be channelling every smug prick from an 80's action-movie. Whilst most of the team are trying to kill the giant shark he instead seems more concerned with keeping the thing to himself to profit from. Although beyond opening a chain of novelty sushi bars I'm not entirely sure how you profit from the discovery of a giant shark? Not that the problem with the movie is that it's too stupid. It's a film in which The Stath has to kill a giant shark and so, of course, it's going to be stupid. The problem is that the film isn't quite stupid enough. The Fast And The Furious have mostly managed to walk that fine line of being both dumb as shit but also insanely brilliant with the moment in which Vin Diesel flies between two bridges to catch his girlfriend after she was flipped off by a tank a particular high point. During that moment in the cinema I was watching it in some kid a few rows down lost his patience with the blatant bullshittery and shouted at the screen to “fuck off!!!”.  Well, I wanted more moments like that during The Meg. 

That's not to say that a kid didn't shout something out whilst I was watching this movie though. Apparently, the shark is attracted to light and at one point a person who knows this information is lowered into the water whilst fully lit up. It was at this moment that the kid screamed, “turn that light off, you idiot”. Although considering the prick had spent most of the movie by playing on his phone it could be possible that he'd finally started channelling my psychic-waves of anger. Especially considering that the character had the lights on to specifically attract the shark. There's a similar scene earlier on in which The Stath jumps into the water with a bit of rope attaching him to a boat and that ends with the boat speeding off with him dragging behind as the shark gives chase. As a vegetarian, I feel that if we absolutely have to eat fish then this is the only fair way that we should be allowed to try and catch them from now on. It was also one of the more entertaining moments in the movie which despite not being stupid enough did still have plenty to enjoy. I mean if you like the idea of people falling off boats then this is the film for you. It's just a shame that despite it happening every seven seconds, the filmmakers decided not to include the sound-effect that accompanies the flying bra from Carry On Camping. 

If there's one reason that this film just about scrapes by however it's because of The Stath himself who continues to be the most charismatic personification of a grunt on the planet. I love The Rock as much as I love The Stath but one of the reasons that Skyscraper was so fucking dull was because The Rock played an everyman. But look at that fucker! He's an exaggeration of a human and about as believable as your average bloke as The Hulk would be after a spray tan. The Stath, however, has literally no interest in having you relate to him and so plays the cliched part of the grizzled hero to the point that his character may as well just be called, “swimming bastard”. Although I'd say that The Meg's marketing team were more aware of what this movie should have been that the actual filmmakers it's still worth a watch I guess. It's a Rorschach test of a film with most likely to leave with the exact impression of it as they likely went in with. For better or worse this is The Stath's Snakes On A Plane. Considering that Sharks seem terrifying due to their cold, dead, eyes I guess it makes sense to pair one up against The Stath seems as he's essentially just a lethal stare that's been grafted on a bald head. Thanks for reading motherfuckers and see you next time.

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