MEG 2: THE TRENCH
Starring: Jason Statham, Able Wanamakok, Li Bingbing, Sienna Guillory, Sophia Cai, Jing Wu, Cliff Curtis, Skyler Samuels, Page Kennedy, Melissanthi Mahut, and Sergio Peris-Mencheta
Director: Ben Wheatley
Meg 2: The Trench takes a deliberate bite at trying to be a nonsense-filled schlockfest, but never quite succeeds as well as its predecessor, The Meg. The disjointed sequel flows with breakneck pacing, but somehow still spends too long on a very dull interhuman confrontation instead of the interspecies one. Jason Statham does what Statham does best, and if you’re a fan, you know what you’re getting. But with weak performances aplenty and a very mixed bag of visual effects that range from quite lovely to purely abhorrent, this franchise sadly sinks further in quality the second time around.
A good sequel should expand upon its predecessor while also giving fans of the original more of what they loved about the first one. Meg 2: The Trench does neither. I could’ve forgiven the asinine writing and the embarrassing performances because I assumed this movie was going for a fun B-movie but with more money, but it’s not fun enough for me to give it that kind of pass. With one momentary exception, the big shark is just chilling for the most part, and instead, we are left with a dull action plot with nothing to care about.
If you loved The Meg, you will probably love Meg 2: The Trench, which is by no means a glowing endorsement. B-movie is 100% the intention here, where a plotless adventure ensues with Sharknado-esque improbability. The corybantic camerawork keeps you in the confused chaos, first established by the inexplicable James Bond-like qualifications of its protagonist, Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham). Plus, oddly, the story doesn’t even feature Megs throughout the film. This is the type of production that you bring your young children to with unapologetic abandon, as loud insiders to my particular viewing ventured to do…and I didn’t really care.
Were the effects shonky? Absolutely. Did the plot make sense? Barely. Were the performances convincing? Definitely not. Did the action scenes have so many cuts and shaky camera movements I found myself unable to make out what was going on? Unfortunately, yes. But did I care? Not really! Despite all of this, I sat back and mostly enjoyed nearly two hours of pointless, ridiculous, and cheesy fun featuring Jason Statham and various supersized aquatic threats. Although its run time is too long and I was not at all emotionally invested in a single character, I, begrudgingly, had a good time.
I was hoping The Trench would embrace the absurdity of its premise and deliver some cheesy B-movie fun, but it never does. Instead, I was treated to an excruciating two hours of lifeless direction, mediocre effects, and writing dumb enough to make the first one look like Jaws. The most painful thing about this sequel is its astounding lack of sharks. The Megs themselves play a secondary role in the narrative, taking a back seat to the film’s dull human conflict. Jason Statham brings his usual charisma, but even he can’t save this Megalodon-sized flop.