It took a long time. Many would say too long. But finally, today, in 2018, the careers of The Rock and Jason Statham are intertwining. It started a few years ago with Statham’s appearance in Furious 7 and continued in the franchise’s next film, 2017’s Fate of the Furious, which saw the two develop a camaraderie and on-screen chemistry that was somehow both unexpected and obvious. Why wouldn’t The Rock and Jason Statham be terrific together? We should have known. This is our fault, not theirs. Thankfully, we will right this wrong next year when the two of them star in the franchise’s first spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw.
But that’s not the only way their careers are coming together. Earlier this year, The Rock starred in Rampage, a movie in which he did battle with abnormally large violent beasts who were out to destroy people and property because of a billionaire’s business plan gone awry. Later in the same year, Jason Statham starred in The Meg, a movie in which he did battle with an abnormally large violent beast who was out to destroy people and property because of a billionaire’s business plan gone awry. The Rock and Jason Statham both battled beefy beasts on the big screen this year. I choose to believe this is the universe’s apology to me for canceling Zoo.
Anyway, the question this raises here, because the movies are similar and because I rarely have anything better to do than debate the film careers of The Rock and Jason Statham, is this: Which one did it better? Which star, and which movie, conquered the beefy beasts best?
Let’s dig in. You don’t have anything better to do either.
Rampage: The Rock plays a primatologist and former Special Forces soldier named Davis Okoye whose best friend is an albino gorilla named George who likes making dick jokes via sign language. I very much like everything about this character because, like, imagine if you went to the zoo and one of the dudes working with the gorillas was a former supersoldier who looked like The Rock. Delightful.
The Meg: Jason Statham plays a deep sea rescue diver named Jonas Taylor who had a deep sea rescue dive go bad and then moved to Thailand to fish and get drunk a lot. He is recruited to come back by two people who show up in a helicopter and give him a variation of the “because you were the best, that’s why,” which is easily my favorite framing device for an action movie hero origin. They just replaced “a cabin in the woods” with “a bar in Thailand.” Also at one point, when the megalodon appears, Statham’s character literally says “It’s a megalodon” and I did not realize how important it was to me on a deep personal level to hear Jason Statham say that until that very moment. The only way it could have been better is if he tossed an “innit?” at the end. Still, no contest here.
EDGE: The Meg
Rampage: Rampage is based on an old arcade game that featured three monsters — a giant gorilla, a giant wolf, and a giant crocodile — who just smashed the hell out of buildings and cities. That’s all the game was. You played as one of those three and whomped on buildings and helicopters for a while and then you stopped. It was a simpler time.
The Meg: The Meg was loosely based on a series of novels by Steve Alten and I am very pleased to report that, in one of these novels, a megalodon wreaks havoc on boaters in McCovey Cove — the body of water beyond the right-field fence of the San Francisco Giants’ baseball stadium — after former Philadelphia Phillie Pat Burrell hits a home run to break Barry Bonds’ all-time career record. This is the greatest and funniest thing and if you think I am only including this section of the breakdown to tell you about this then you are not far off, buddy.
EDGE: The Meg