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Meg 2: The Trench (Film Review)

3 min read
Meg 2 Featured Image

Warner Bros.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn't exist.

When 's hit the big screen in 2018, it proved to have a surprisingly good bite, both in terms of quality and box office success. The main reason for this was that the film understood what it was and where its strengths lay. Director Jon Turteltaub found a simple narrative full of humour and reasonably strong character relationships to service the heavy dose of Jason Statham vs. Sharks (or Megalodons). It was a well-balanced and absurd popcorn entertainer (yes, there is such a thing). A sequel, this time directed by , was always going to up the absurdity, and it certainly does. There are more creatures (even dinosaurs) and high-tech suits. But unfortunately, the film seems to forget what made the original so enjoyable. So, while is bigger – better, it is not.

Meg 2: The Trench sees returning hero Jonas Taylor (Statham), now a part of an oceanic institute that works to save the ecosystem, leading a research team on an exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean. This team also consists of Taylor's adopted daughter, Meiyung (Sophia Cai), whose mother, Suyin (from The Meg), has passed away, and her uncle, Jiuming (). Naturally, things go horribly array when sharks and a group of villains (not so keen on saving the ecosystem) turn Taylor and the team's journey into a chaotic one.

Meg 2 Shark
Warner Bros.

The film opens in a promising manner, seemingly picking up from where The Meg left off, as we are quickly greeted by visuals of the Shark and Statham, both inflicting damage in their own way. In the Shark's case, we see it eating a dinosaur on a beach, which makes for a great visual, all be it with no explanation. Whereas the pugilistic Statham is seen on a boat doing pull-ups, having an entertaining interaction with a parrot as he attempts to snoop around in an office, before finally battling his way through a bunch of bad guys in classic Statham fashion. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from here, as our charismatic hero and big, bad Shark quickly get lost in the poorly structured narrative that is about to unfold.

Unlike the first instalment, Meg 2 doesn't just follow the basic yet fun premise of Taylor saving his loved ones from a Shark (or Sharks). This time, the creative team feels the need to meddle with the successful formula and insert an evil group that betrays Taylor and Co., and unfortunately, it proves to be a major error. The inclusion of our new antagonists is set up with little-to-no back-story, making it nearly impossible for audiences to emotionally invest in the narrative, even when it desperately tries to get serious (another mistake). The film then randomly reinserts the sharks into the equation, reminding audiences (and itself) that this is still a Meg tale (if only just). With no clear direction or goals for our protagonists, the nearly two-hour runtime feels like a pointless barrage of action sequences and character moments with no meaning. Not even the fancy underwater suits can distract us from how painfully bad this sequel can be.

Statham and Sophia - Meg 2
Warner Bros.

Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura previously stated the challenge of this film was balancing violence and humour. But with Statham stuck amongst the larger group, seemingly zapped of all his charisma and wit, action scenes lack the necessary comedic sparks that made the original so fun. Also, the sharks taking a backseat for a large chunk of the story – means the necessary level of violence is seldom present. Even the entertaining kills during the film's climax cannot make up for it. Therefore, not only is the balance off but so are our two main characters.

One would have thought exploring our hero's newfound fatherly duties could have successfully guided the film to the climax. But alas, Wheatley and Co. opted for another route. Ultimately, Meg 2 is what many expected the original to be, except it is far worse than they could have imagined. “This is just some dumb sh*t. Mark my words” is a line from Page Kennedy's character DJ earlier in the film. Upon reflection, it feels like a warning to the audience.

Meg 2: The Trench is now in cinemas.