Meg 2: The Trench Review


Jason Statham returns to battle underwater intrigue in a prehistoric shark feeding frenzy unleashed on hapless tourists. Meg 2: The Trench brings other hungry Cretaceous critters to the human buffet in a sci-fi adventure akin to Jurassic Park. It’s a B-movie with a blockbuster budget.

The sequel revels in monster tropes, gloriously overblown action, and cheesy one-liners. There’s also the plucky teen sidekick that, gosh darn it, just can’t stay out of trouble and requires constant rescuing. The supporting cast carries more of the fighting weight but pay the price as deli meat. It runs a bit long, but you’ll cheer and roar with laughter at the popcorn cinema carnage.

The film opens with an ancient primer on Megalodon dominance. In present day Philippines, a container ship illegally dumps radioactive waste into the ocean. Jonas Taylor (Statham) has snuck aboard to stop them. It’s bullets and beatdowns as the baddies get a painful martial arts lesson. James “Mac” Mackreides (Cliff Curtis) swoops in for the rescue and playfully chides Jonas for his eco-warrior heroics. They fly back to the Oceanic Institute for a black tie event celebrating their scientific progress.

Jiuming (Wu Jing), the son of Minway Zhang and Suyin’s older brother, has taken over operations. He lauds recent accomplishments with the support of a wealthy new benefactor (Sienna Guillory). The institute has designed stronger dive suits and new vessels to explore the trench. They have begun mapping the hidden world underneath the “thermocline” barrier, but he’s most proud of their biggest success. Jiuming has raised and attempted to train a captive Megalodon from birth. The gargantuan Haiqi lurks behind a steel wall in her massive holding tank.

Jason Statham returns as Jonas Taylor

Meg 2: The Trench
Warner Bros.

Suyin’s daughter, Meiying (Sophia Cai), now a precocious 14-year-old, begs Jonas and Jiuming to go on the next dive. Jonas steadfastly refuses. It will be incredibly dangerous and she’s too young. The crew straps on the new gear and loads into a pair of submersibles. Mac wishes them good luck as they descend into the inky blackness. Jonas notices they’re using more oxygen than expected.

They reach the thermocline of the trench. Megalodons are gathering below for some unknown reason. Internal sensors in the lead sub reveal a stowaway on board. Back at the Institute, something has changed in Haiqi. She circles and builds speed before hurtling at her cage. An irate Jonas is about to call off the mission when a proximity alarm sounds. A huge object is racing towards them.

Related: The 10 Best Shark Attack Movies (That Aren’t Jaws)

Meg 2: The Trench never takes itself seriously. The characters make decisions with reckless abandon and acknowledge the folly of their stupidity. An early scene has Jiuming in the tank with Haiqi like a tasty floating morsel. There’s a chorus of “this is a terrible idea, but let’s do it anyway.” Self-preservation isn’t at the forefront here. DJ (Page Kennedy), in a much larger role, offers rolling commentary on the flawed logic of brash endeavors. He voices out loud what everyone with common sense is thinking. DJ gets a few chuckles by being aptly prepared for the worst case scenario. Let’s just say he’s upped his game from the last shark attack experience.

The violence stays firmly in the PG-13 realm. There’s blood in the water, but you don’t see chewed chunks of flesh or limbs floating around. Megs are big enough to gobble en masse like a scooper with chainsaw teeth. It’s CGI terror as people try to swim away before the chomp-down. I almost fell out of my chair laughing from an inside jaws viewpoint.

A pleasant surprise was the other creatures that join the fray. Director Ben Wheatley (Free Fire, Kill List) adds to the party with sea reptiles that can also walk on land. This means that swimming to the beach isn’t a path to safety. Escaping the Megs is just the first hurdle. The film does a good job of differentiating the action. There’s slaughter galore outside the water.

Related: Sharksploitation Review: A Captivating Look at Shark Movies

A Tourist Buffet

Meg 2: The Trench
Warner Bros.

Statham, a guaranteed entertainment commodity, deserves the shark week medal of valor but shares heroic duty this time around. Chinese star Wu Jing and Page Kennedy help significantly with the heavy lifting. They get participation points for not sitting on their laurels, but Kennedy does go overboard with annoying comic relief antics and banter. I would have trimmed his verbal slapstick and stuck with the purely physical contribution.

Meg 2: The Trench has a plethora of cartoonish antagonists. Sergio Peris-Mencheta co-stars as Montes, an aggrieved adversary and puppet of the true mastermind villain. Jonas kicks his ass repeatedly, but he continually pops up like whack-a-mole. There’s also a strained saboteur subplot that runs out steam. Ravenous CGI beasts are good enough. The film didn’t need unnecessary bad guy filler.

Meg 2: The Trench is a production of CMC Pictures, DF Pictures, Di Bonaventura Pictures, and Apelles Entertainment. It will have an August 4th theatrical release from Warner Bros.

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