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Meg 2: The Trench Review

August 5, 2023 | Posted by Joseph Lee
The Meg 2 Jason Statham Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
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Meg 2: The Trench Review  

* Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor
* Wu Jing as Jiuming Zhang
* Sophia Cai as Meiying Zhang
* Page Kennedy as DJ
* Sergio Peris-Mencheta as Montes
* Skyler Samuels as Jess
* Cliff Curtis as Mac

Story: A research team encounters multiple threats while exploring the depths of the ocean, including a malevolent mining operation.

This review may contain minor spoilers.

Meg, the novel, had been in development hell for years until it was finally turned into a big budget blockbuster in 2018. The Meg, the film adaptation, was big dumb fun with Jason Statham battling giant sharks. It had laughs, enjoyable shark carnage and even some heart to it. It was also a massive hit, bringing in $530.2 million worldwide. That almost guaranteed a sequel would be made. And it had plenty of material to pull from, as Steve Alten’s book series is seven entries deep as of this year.

How do you make a monster movie even bigger? More monsters, of course. The Lost World gave us three T-rexes and a rampage in San Diego. Aliens introduced the Alien Queen and had a whole swarm of xenomorphs. And so on. So it’s not surprise that Meg 2 introduces more than one Megalodon (and other creepy crawlies) into the mix. If you wanted more carnage, you got it…you just might have to wait awhile.

For some reason known only to the writers, the sequel to the movie about a giant shark eating people suddenly has human villains. This is not a movie that needed such a device, as all one had to do was up the ante with the creatures and fans would be all set. For a sequel to something like The Meg, anyone who enjoyed that likely wanted more of the same. There certainly wasn’t a need for an ecoterrorist subplot. Sure, they’re not ecoterrorists exactly, but they plunder natural resources and destroy the natural order of things. What would you call them?

The worst part about the villains is how ineffectual they are. You know what’s going to happen to them as soon as they’re introduced, so the movie doesn’t even pretend anything else is a possibility. To that end, they’re never really threats to our heroes. They do big things and put our cast in peril, but ultimately they’re nothing more than a nuisance. That’s not much of a spoiler. Burke gets killed by the xenomorph. Dennis Nedry gets eaten by a dilophosaurus. These things happen when you’re a jerk in a movie like this.

After opening with a sequence set in the Cretaceous Period, we suddenly see Jonas acting as some sort of ecological super spy, attempting to take down pollution like a bald Captain Planet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of Jason Statham fighting nameless bad guys. But The Expendables 4 comes out next month for that. I bought my ticket for monsters and giant animals eating unsuspecting people. Sure, the movie gives me that, but not enough of it.

That’s the biggest problem with Meg 2 in general. It has a bit of an identity crisis and forgets its a monster movie. Not only does it have the useless villains, but it takes itself far too seriously at times. The time spent in the Trench, the title of the movie, is minimal. Instead have to get to other problems like the conspiracy of a mole in Jonas’ organization. All the stuff that you see in the trailer (and in this photo) happen during one section of the movie. The rest is spent plodding through boring stuff that the audience likely won’t be in the mood for.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. When the movie does get to the monster action, it has some very fun moments. Look at that photo. That’s not a publicity shot, that’s a real thing that happens. So there’s echoes of the original film in there. That is also a time we get to see the characters we enjoyed (and Wu Jing, who fits right in and easily steals the movie from Statham) do more. And there is a death scene in the Trench that, while it doesn’t feature a shark directly, is admittedly a little haunting.

It’s not a completely wasted experience and there are entertaining moments, but Meg 2 is arguably more frustrating because of this. You can see the big, loud, stupid shark movie in there, trying to get out. But it’s bogged down by too many characters, subplots that go nowhere and serious issues with tone. Whether it was a script issue, studio interference or some combination, Meg 2 is ultimately a disappointment that wastes whatever potential it had.

The final score: review Poor
The 411
If The Meg is Jaws (it's not, not even close) then Meg 2 is closer to Jaws 3D. It can be slow and plodding, especially when it often forgets that it's a monster movie. When the monsters show up, it has fun moments. But it has an ecoterrorist subplot thrown that takes a bite out of any enjoyment you might get. A slight disappointment depending on how you feel about the first film.

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The Meg 2, Joseph Lee