The Meg 2
What’s more exhilarating than one Megalodon? More Megalodons! The Meg 2: The Trench brings the prehistoric sharks to the big screen. Directed by Ben Wheatley (Kill List) and written by the team of Jon Hoeber (Battleship), Erich Hoeber (Transformers: Rise of the Beasts), and Dean Georgaris (The Manchurian Candidate), Meg 2 stars Jason Statham (Fast X), Jing Wu (The Wandering Earth II), Cliff Curtis (Avatar: The Way of Water), Shuya Sophia Cai (Meg), Page Kennedy (Meg), Melissanthi Mahut (The Other Me), Sergio Peris-Mencheta (Rambo: Last Blood), and Sienna Guillory (Clifford the Big Red Dog).
In this sequel, a research team led by the genius and free-spirited Jiuming (Jing), encounters several threats from multiple colossal sharks, a mining operation, mercenaries, and other things which have swum up from the seafloor. Bring in Jonas (Statham), a rescue diver and giant-shark-punching extraordinaire, to get everyone out of trouble. Of course, he’s never had to face multiple Megs at once. Not to mention, other creatures which have crawled out from the hole created by malicious miners. Will he be able to rescue his friends, play father figure to Meiying (Cai), and strut away without a scratch on him?
The problem with sequels to a fairly innovative movie is sometimes people think the only way they can top it, is to make it bigger. Bring more. But, as seen in Meg 2, that may just muddy the waters. Meg’s answer to upping the ante is to add in more sharks, but this has been done before—as have most of the twists and turns in the movie.
Illegal mining operation? Done in Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus. Sharks surrounding underwater facilities? Deep Blue Sea. Sharks having their fill at a beach resort smorgasbord? The Requin. While it is only a touch unique to bring all of these things together, it does little to the already thin plot and steers the audience’s jet ski away from the fact that it’s supposed to be a movie about sharks. What should be a man vs nature story, turns into a man vs man story. There are many easy ways the writers could have made the plot deeper and richer, but that begs the question: is that what the franchise needs?
Jason Statham’s Jonas is a powerhouse. The trailer alone has him kicking a Meg in the face, riding a jet ski like a bat out of hell, and walking along the sea floor like he’s taking a morning stroll. That is nothing compared to all of the ridiculous, physics-defying action scenes in the movie. Meanwhile, DJ (Kennedy) is a great break from the overpowered Jonas. He is endearing, interjects with just the right amount of snark, says exactly what the audience is thinking, and is easy to root for. Both Meiying and her uncle Jiuming are also easy to cheer on. They are impulsive to the point of recklessness, but the audience still hopes they come out unscathed.
There is no character development in sight, the plot is thin, the action is ridiculous, and many of the scenes are cliché. That being said, once the action gets started, it never lets up. The main characters are charming and lovable. The writers play fast and loose with the laws of both physics and biology but in a glib manner. Adrenaline junkies and Statham fans will find Meg 2: The Trench worth their time.
Don’t go into this non-stop thrill ride looking for Oscar-worthy performances and plot. If viewers curb their expectations, this movie will satiate those anticipations, and may even exceed some. While it’s not necessary to watch it in the theater, fans of the first movie, action flicks, and of shark-ploitative movies in general will love the immersive experience. Just try not to think too hard about what’s happening on the screen when sitting behind a Megalodon-sized bowl of popcorn.
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