The real star of the monster movie The Meg is the massive megalodon title character. However, the hero of The Meg is deep sea diver Jonas Taylor, played perfectly by Jason Statham. While Statham is no stranger to action movies, The Meg isn't exactly the sort of action we're used to seeing him involved in, but it turns out that's exactly why he was wanted for the film. The Meg producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura says that while the film needed a "tough guy" to play the lead, it didn't need him simply to do action scenes, but instead to see how such a character handles the trauma of the experience. According to Bonaventura...

We really wanted Jason for this movie because he had never done a movie like this. We thought it was an opportunity both to show him in a different light and also give us the opportunity of using his talent in a different way than it had been used before. He's not a fighter in this movie, it's not about that. We wanted a man who's gone through real trauma and there's nothing better than a tough guy who's gone through trauma because to see him impacted by it means it really has a weight. And what does this character have to overcome as a result of that?

We're used to seeing Jason Statham kick ass and take names in his various roles, and while that was certainly an important aspect of who his character needed to be, it wasn't the most important thing going on. As Lorenzo di Bonaventura says in one of the special features attached to the Blu-ray release of The Meg, he not really a fighter here. He can't exactly punch the giant shark into submission.

Instead, his character's arc is about taking somebody who is probably used to punching away his problems, and then putting them in a situation where that's not an option and seeing how they respond. Statham's character is forced to sacrifice friends at the beginning of the film, and nobody believes him when he claims that something in the water is to blame. This trauma impacts how others see him as well as how he sees himself.

Ultimately, The Meg is still an action movie that pits a hero against a monster, so the traumatic aspects of Jonas Taylor's life aren't given a great deal of focus, but it's certainly true that the fact that the "bad guy" in this case is the largest shark to ever swim the seas does separate it from the other villains that Jason Statham has had to defeat on screen over the years.

While not everybody adored The Meg many of us thought it was a fun little adventure that took itself just seriously enough to work. This sort of weight is exactly where the film was able to be realistic without losing the over-the-top nature that made it fun.

The Meg is on Digital and Blu-ray now.

 

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