THE REEL: A shark tale with a twist

Wednesday March 18 2020

The movie has a storyline that is far more interesting than a lot of others in the shark-tale realm. PHOTO | COURTESY


Ever since Jaws, the 1975 shark-movie thriller directed by Steven Spielberg, was released, there has been a fascination with movie creators about feeding the fear of people with sharks.

Like Jaws, we’ve seen some really good movies like The Shallows and personal favourite Deep Blue Sea, but we’ve equally seen some of the most absurd productions from this genre like Sharknado, Sand Sharks and a host of many others.

The Megis kind of caught in between. Jonas Taylor (played by Jason Statham) is part of a rescue mission trying to help the crew of a nuclear submarine that has been grounded at sea.


As they are helping the victims safely from their vessel, that is fast taking in water, into the rescue submarine, Jonas catches a glimpse of something trying to tear into the hull.

Since no one else saw this, they believe that Jonas is just traumatised by the whole experience and pressure-induced psychosis because he manages to get out of the submersible just in time.

Meanwhile, somewhere off the coast of China, a scientific team is carrying out experiments in an offshore, underwater research centre called Mana One. The research, to explore what may be a deeper section of the Marianas trench, concealed by a thermocline cloud of hydrogen sulphide, is being funded by billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson).

Dr. Minway Zhang (Winston Chao) and his daughter Suyin (Bingbing Li) head the research, and are joined by The Wall (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson). One of the other researchers is Lori (Jessica McNamee) who is Jonas’s ex-wife, and Toshi (Masi Oka). Suyin’s daughter Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai) is also on board.

When the research team – Suyin, Lori and Toshi – heads down to explore beyond the cloud, they are attacked by a very large creature and their submersible is grounded at the deepest depth of the ocean ever recorded, without communication with Mana One.

Another crew member, James "Mac" Mackreides (Cliff Curtis), suggests that Jonas be located on land to come lead an attempt at rescue. Jonas is brought in tries to rescue stranded scientists.


When his submersible gets down to the depth, everybody gets a glimpse of the creature that attacked the stranded scientists. They believe this to be the Megalodon, the largest shark ever documented and one of the largest fish on record which they thought was extinct.

Running against time and shark, Jonas must out-manoeuvre this monster on its own turf and try to bring an end to its terror before lives are lost. The movie has a storyline that is far more interesting than a lot of others in the shark-tale realm.

With Chinese funding, Chinese culture had to come into the movie and we see family and honour towards it being a part of the portrayal. There is also the aspect of DJ (Page Kennedy), the sarcastic and highly distrusting black man who has to see it to believe it, that adds a sense of humour that would have otherwise seen a more dulled shark-movie. He won’t do anything without being pushed because risk is not what his life’s about.

Most importantly is that an American does not save the day in this movie. In fact, if anything, Morris seems to make the situation worse with every other decision. Jonas is totally Brit; very stiff and only takes calculated risks when he absolutely has to.

Of course, as always, computer generated imagery (CGI) is one of those things that can make or break a movie. The CGI in this movie sometimes is a let-down, the dimensions get lost and you’re trying to figure whether the shark is this size or that other; and I’m talking about same shark, different sizes.

Plus, do sharks just eat all the damn time? This movie’s shark seems to want to eat all the time, and its favourite meal seems to be people. How can a prehistoric shark not having come into contact with people before learn to differentiate people from whales, ships or submarines? It was just puzzling to me.

The movie has bloody scenes so you might not want have your children (or some adults) watching this if it will make them scared in the dark. But PG-13 seemed a fair enough rating. Not a bad movie to actually sit down and watch.


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