Reel Talk: ‘The Meg Two: The Trench’


With a mere 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Meg 2: The Trench” has, by all available metrics, left its audience utterly dismayed since its release August 4. Directed by Ben Wheatley, director of “Kill List,” “Free Fire” and more, this PG-13 blockbuster would seem to play to his strengths, considering his experience in making similarly violent movies. Yet, despite his arguably impressive resume, “Meg 2” lacks creativity and originality. Returning writers Dean Georgaris, Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber seem to have created this movie out of necessity. The commonly held perception that some sharks must be constantly moving or else die must have subconsciously influenced the making of this film, with how rushed and unnecessary it seems to be.

Meg 2” takes place five years after the events of its predecessor, “The Meg.” The film begins with Jonas Taylor (played by Jason Statham) and Jiuming Zhang (played by Wu Jung), who are leading a routine exploration of the Mariana Trench. While on their quest, a female megalodon named Haiqi, supposedly trained by Zhang, escapes captivity and chases the explorers. Haiqi’s escape results in her mating with two other megalodons, and the three megalodons make a recurrence later in the film.

Around this portion of the film, though, director Wheatley drifts from what the viewers may expect and introduces human antagonists, much to the chagrin of those who were wanting shark-based action. A crew committing illegal activities in the trench has a vendetta against Taylor and attacks him throughout the film. The movie continues to dash from action scene to action scene until Taylor’s crew ends up on a resort-like area humorously named Fun Island, where they find escaped ‘snappers,’ small lizard-like creatures from the trench. More creatures, such as a giant octopus, are introduced, and the movie concludes with Taylor and his crew killing the violent ocean animals. The last shot of the film is the group celebrating their survival from many different death traps on a destroyed Fun Island.

As confusing as this summary may sound, the movie itself is equally as puzzling. The primary flaw of the movie is that it is an unorganized conglomeration of multiple plots that it quickly loses focus of, and it lacks what it initially was supposed to deliver. In other words, the movie bit off more than it could chew.

Throughout the movie, Wheatley fails to provide an impressive bite to the film’s bark. Clinging on to its PG-13 rating, the movie displays little carnage and seldom depicts blood. Despite few movies presenting such a creature as a megalodon, “Meg 2” feels like a run-of-the-mill film that’s already been done a million times before. While the film holds eye-catching visuals and cinematic scenes, the storyline itself is absurd.

The plot of “Meg 2” brings in an exorbitant number of new creatures compared to the original film. With snappers, the addition of two megalodons, a giant octopus and human adversaries, the movie is shameless in its illogicality. Instead of revolving around one central megalodon, the movie is stuffed with multiple unnecessary, distracting additions. The presence of numerous new creatures also takes away from the film’s megalodon legacy, instead lumping the movie in with generic science fiction flicks.

And while “Meg 2” is an undoubtedly action-packed movie, the combat delivery in question is ridiculous. In one scene, Statham’s character can be seen stopping a chained megalodon from attacking him with just a singular foot. In another, he fights off a megalodon with his legs on a jet ski. One shot in particular shows masses of people being swept into the jaws of a megalodon. Despite this over-the-top chaos, however, it is not gruesome or gory, making the film a bit dull.

Unfortunately, the actors likewise contribute to the dullness of the film. Although the cast was well-known and diverse, their acting was flat and uninspired, and Statham appeared grumpy and uninterested. Personally, the cast’s performance and the ever-changing film left me indifferent to following along with the already messy plot. With no emotional connection to the characters, I had little interest in who lived or died.

Before the ending shot of the film, the two main characters discuss the possibility of Haiqi being pregnant, indicating the possibility of a third film being released. According to Collider, since the release of “Meg 2,” the film has made $352.5 million worldwide, proving this box-office hit has itself a chance at coming back for a third iteration. Already having made back its production budget and being reasonably close to breaking even, the film’s debut has fairly succeeded despite competing against the dual hits “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” Nevertheless, while it’s a profitable film, the movie has almost universally received terrible reviews.

A quick Google search of the movie reveals a plethora of YouTube videos, articles and audience reviews arguing against the value of this film. Labeling it to be stupid, mediocre or tacky, many audience members are upset at the film’s disorganization and unoriginality.

All in all, “Meg 2: The Trench” deserves its adverse audience reaction. Its rash delivery, over-the-top yet aggressively PG-13 action scenes and cluttered plotlines all contribute to a second-rate action blockbuster. Only time will tell if a third installment in this series may redeem this unfortunate tragedy; until then, though, I would just stick with “Jaws.”


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