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Welcome back to another edition of the YOMYOMF Blockbuster Showdown, where a group of Offenders watch this season’s biggest Hollywood releases and see how they hold up. Here, we express our VERY SPOILERY OPINIONS on all the big Hollywood tentpoles. For this edition, we review THE MEG or aka the Jason Statham vs. prehistoric shark movie. This film is also a co-production with China so it’s more Asian-y than usual for a Hollywood flick. How is it? Read below and find out!

1. THE MEG is finally here! Was it a blast or dead in the water?

LIZ: THE MEG is everything I love about giant sized animal B-movies: huge creatures, ridiculous dialogue, over-acting, and lots of action scenes. I saw it in the Arclight Dome in Hollywood. It was a pretty full theater and everyone had a rollicking good time. At first, you could feel the audience figuring out the tone. And then, like a giant wave, good old laughter crested through the theater and we all enjoyed ourselves with this over the top movie. We all laughed during Jason Statham’s gratuitous shower scene. We all clapped when the Meg ate one of our characters. We all hollered when Li BingBing was mourning her father but seductively invited Statham to come into her room. It was a great time.

ANDERSON: It was basically what I expected, a dumb, late summer B-movie. It didn’t, however, meet my all time comparison, DEEP BLUE SEA, which is hands down one of the most fun times I have ever had in a theater, especially for this one scene, where Samuel L Jackson does the epic pep talk and then…

YOU CANNOT GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT! I basically wanted it to be a hard R but instead, we got PG-13, which I get but it could’ve become a B-movie classic if we had more gore and inventive deaths.

2. Does it make you not want to go into the water?

LIZ: I have a huge fear of sharks and orcas so, I’m not a huge open water fan. BUT I do love me some shallow snorkeling and a good pool day. Side note: Did anyone ever get scared of going into the pool as a kid because you were afraid of Jaws coming through the tiny pool drain? Just me? AWESOME.

ANDERSON: Hey Liz, I’m from Hawaii and one time when I was “attempting to surf” in my teens, I remember something brushing my leg underwater. I don’t know if it was a shark, but it surely looked like one and miraculously, I was actually able to ride a wave in and make it to shore. I never surfed again. So, yeah, I have trauma.

3. As a China co-production, was it shoehorned in or did the characters and story make work for this film?

LIZ: Look, it was obvious we set this in China and had mainland Chinese actors because it was produced by China. Did the film justify the location and actors? Sure. Did it make or break the story? No.

ANDERSON: For what it’s worth, the China setting was pretty natural. I’ve seen that overcrowded beach in viral videos so that made a lot of sense to me too. Great fodder for the Meg! Or can I just say Meg?

4. Any Asians in the film?

LIZ: We were treated to a decent performance by Winston Chao. He definitely had the job of being the exposition-talker. He also had a passable death scene where he told Li Bingbing that he was hard on her because he loved her (aka stereotypical tiger parent storyline).

Li Bingbing is super pretty. She’s also an incredible actress when she’s talking in Chinese. Her moment with her dad was great. Her romantic moments and “spunky” moments with Jason Statham were awkward AF. Let’s just say there was lots of cringing with the dialogue she was given.

ANDERSON: Can I just interrupt you and share this Instagram photo from Li Bingbing’s account?

OK, back to you, Liz!

LIZ: Shuya Sophia Cai was a breath of fresh air in every scene she was in. She was adorable and looked like she was having the best time on set. Just a joy to watch.

Cliff Curtis played his usual “I’m in charge, kind of an asshole, but also just your best bud” role. I’d let him captain my ship, if you know what I’m saying (I have no idea what I’m saying).

Masi Oka was also in this film as Toshi. He was fun to watch in the tiny submarine and then I got so sad when he decided to sacrifice himself. Why did he have to play into the model minority stereotype. I mean, he died to save people but WE SHOULD HAVE SAVED HIM. I’m just saying, his other castmates could have climbed that ladder a little faster getting into the rescue sub. He didn’t have to die.

ANDERSON: Yes, Masi Oka basically does seppuku, but if they’re going for the honorable Asian trope, then hey, it was a noble death.

Plus, wow, a Hollywood movie made for China where the Chinese actors actually had speaking parts! This was better than INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE or TRANSFORMERS 4. Sure, they were supporting roles to Statham, but they were integral parts to the story. It was funny to see Ruby Rose as the window dressing.

As for the forced romance between Bingbing and Statham, I actually thought they had good chemistry. It wasn’t icky and he especially was great with the kid.

5. Both director John Turtletaub and Jason Statham publicly said they wished the final film was gorier. Agree?

LIZ: 1000%. I wish it had been an R-rated film. If the film wasn’t going to deliver on the suspense or lean heavily into the humor of it’s situation, the least they could have done is make is super gory. I have a feeling China wanted it to stay at a PG-13 rating. I wish we had seen more humans being killed: lots of blood, limbs severed everywhere squirting arteries, entrails looping around submarines, etc. It was crazy though, the Meg full on killed three whales including a baby whale. So, if you’re a whale, you should know this film could be a trigger for you.

ANDERSON: That’s why I wouldn’t rank this up there with DEEP BLUE SEA (see clip above again), which is a masterpiece. It is definitely neutered and for a movie about a gigantic shark, it should’ve had much more gore.

6. With attacking dinosaurs, prehistoric sharks, and a giant ape from Skull Island, what other big animal attack movies do you want to see?

LIZ: I’ve always wanted to see prehistoric giant killer sloths just rampage through a city. Other animals that would be fun would be a pack of 100 killer whales. THEIR NAME HAS KILLER IN THEM. COME ON!

ANDERSON: Well, there’s ORCA, which came out a couple of years after JAWS starting Richard Harris and Charlotte Rampling. I saw this dreck of a film when I was a little kid and the motivation on why the Orca seeks revenge still disturbed me big time.

But, clearly, you can tell that the screaming Orca is in an aquarium. Anyway, it was not good.

7. Rate it! 1 Banana (bad) 4 Bananas (Great)

LIZ: 1.5 Bananas: Pure ridiculous B-movie blockbuster fun times. Would I see this movie in theaters again? Nope. But would if I were flipping channels and found it playing on some random channel, I would totally stop and watch it. I mean, the MEG does a trust fall onto a boat. Genius.

P.S. – It looks like the dog dies. THE DOG DOES NOT DIE. Repeat. THE DOG DOES NOT DIE.

ANDERSON: I actually saw THE MEG before Liz and she had to beg me to spoil it for her to find out if the dog lives or was going to end up as chum. Because I told her the dog lived, she was emotionally safe to watch the movie. Ha! So much for humans!

But as for my score, a 1.5 as well.

Liz Ho (@TheLizHoShow): Is a fortune cookie: a crispy-Asian-American-treat that will give you useless advice & lotto numbers. She loves STAR TREK, al pacasso, STAR WARS (IV-VI), working on her YouTube Channel, reading, and taking daily pictures of my rescued ewok dogs, Cooper and Coco. She is also an actor.

Anderson Le (@ale808) is one of the founding Offenders of YOMYOMF. He is also the director of programming for the Hawaii International Film Festival.

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