Even though the movie’s real star is a prehistoric 75-foot long shark known as Megalodon, it’s Page Kennedy’s performance that steals the show in this high adventure shark drama, which brilliantly mixes horror and humor. As DJ, a wisecracking member of a water observation team who has a fear of the water, Kennedy ensues laughs in several scenes as he hammers home his fear of the sea and reignites that old stereotype of African Americans not being great swimmers.
“I think he did have some comedy elements, but it’s just DJ being funny just because of the situation,” shares the actor who attests to being a good swimmer. “When the cast would have races, I didn’t come in last so I must be a decent swimmer,” he continues. “I am from Detroit and we don’t have many beaches, but I was fortunate that my father put me in an activity center and paid for me to have swimming lessons so I learned how to swim from there.”
“The Meg” follows an undersea observation team who come face to face with the Megalodon, one of the ocean’s most powerful predators at bottom of the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. The enormous shark believed to have been extinct for more than two million years turns out to be very much alive and on the hunt and the mission becomes to stop it from consuming mankind.
Based on the science-fiction horror novel by Steve Alten, “The Meg” sets up its main characters well. Jason Statham is Jonas Taylor, a former deep-sea rescue diver who is drawn out of self-imposed exile by a visionary Chinese oceanographer, Dr. Zhang (Winston Chao) after his crew is attacked. Li Bingbing plays his daughter, Suyin who joins forces with Statham to stop the seemingly unstoppable creature. There’s Ruby Rose as Jaxx, the lead engineer and sub designer who is responsible for all of the technology on the different vessels, Cliff Curtis as the station chief Mac, Robert Taylor as Dr. Heller and DJ, who pilots the unmanned remote explorer from the safety of the Mana One control center.
“DJ is the one saying, ‘Are you out of your frickin’ mind?” laughs Kennedy. “You do not go back out there chasing this undersea monster! As soon as you escape from this situation, you should never even drink water again!’ That’s his perspective, while everyone else is gung ho about making sure this thing doesn’t continue to cause mass destruction. DJ is left to either stay behind or pony up, and he makes his decision: time to go be a hero.”
Talking Megalodon: “Jaws is nothing like what she is,” says Page Kennedy. It’s a Man vs Animal movie, which balances the drama with the action well and director Jon Turteltaub aptly juggles all the demands of filming on and in the water and dealing with a lot of complex visual effects, while still giving every actor the individual attention.
Scare movies seldom fail at the box office and like the classic 70s film “Jaws,” that featured Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss hunting down a great white killer shark, “The Meg” offers lots of jolts as it expertly taps into and exploits our primitive fears of murderous attacks by alien species. “I loved the movie ‘Jaws’ and I think ‘The Meg’ is awesome because it’s basically going to be ‘Jaws’ for the kids. It will be nostalgic for parents because that movie was so long ago, but it’s going to be exciting for them too and new and innovative for the kids as this will be their ‘Jaws,’ except that shark in ‘Jaws’ is nothing like what ‘The Meg’ is,” adds Kennedy whose movies include “S.W.A.T.,” and television shows “The Shield” and “Six Feet Under.” He also starred in USA Network’s series “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.” and guest starred on CBS’s “Rush Hour” and FOX’s “Backstrom.”
A rapper and comedian, Kennedy has a second studio album scheduled for release titled “Same Page, Different Story,” which releases the same day as “The Meg.”
“We have a song called “The Audition Part II: The Meg” and I talk about the process of obtaining this role.” Also starring Sophia Cai, Rainn Wilson, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jessica McNamee and Masi Oka, “The Meg” is an entertaining shark saga which achieves precisely what it set out to accomplish – engage and scare the heck out of audiences.
“The Meg” releases in theaters August 10th.
Check out the trailer below
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a Los Angeles based journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news (Photos courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures)