Meg 2: The Trench

Saturday 5 August 2023

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

Film: Meg 2: The Trench

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writers: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Dean Georgaris

Starring: Jason Statham, Shuya Sophia Cai, Jing Wu, Chris Curtis, Page Kennedy

Like with any creature feature sequel, the main premise of this film is that the humans have not learned anything from the events of the first instalment and are continuing to do the things they did that got several people killed. Meg 2: The Trench predominately follows Jonas (Jason Statham) his adopted daughter Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai) and her uncle Jiuming (Jing Wu) who have been researching a megalodon that they have in captivity as well as the trench where the megalodons have managed to avoid extinction. 

Despite the death of her mother and grandfather in the name of ocean exploration, Meiying is adamant she wants to follow in their footsteps and be a scientist specialising in marine life. Father figure Jonas is less keen about this prospect but is happy to put himself in danger to routinely explore ‘The Trench’, while Uncle Jiuming decides swimming with his pet megalodon within the first ten minutes of the film is a good idea. It’s easy to see why Meiying is as reckless as she is. As silly as the whole concept is, I like these characters and the relationship Jonas and Meiying have, so I was willing to look past plot related red flags in favour of a good time. Mac and DJ also make a return from the first film, bringing the much-needed comedy element to a film that takes itself surprisingly seriously.

Jason Statham’s immutable conviction to the screenplay is really what sells this film and its predecessor, and I believe that was anyone else cast as the lead then this sequel would not exist. The cinematography and overall budget put behind this film are also admirable, as a connoisseur of the creature feature, particularly of the shark variety, it’s god to see the genre getting some money behind, though not necessary, one of my favourite shark films had a budget of 100mil less but a lot of films of this nature all look the same, open ocean, capsized boat or buoy and 90 minutes of anguished close ups. These films are genuinely doing something different and while there are plenty shark films, there aren’t plenty films with prehistoric sharks and billion-dollar mining operations. 

Following on from that praise, I can’t in good conscience rate the film any higher. Two of the main antagonists of the film were criminally bad actors, one of their deaths came early enough to spare us thankfully. Sergio Peris-Mencheta did a good job as a sort of a crime boss’ right hand, doing a little bit of everything, but in a film where there are actual megalodon’s, there never felt like there was any real threat from these villains, which of course is difficult anyway because we all know Jason Statham is indestructible.

Meg 2: The Trench is taking the shark world into Fast and Furious territory, what started as a maybe plausible discovery, we’ve only explored 5% of the ocean after all, has definitely crossed into outrageous. I still had fun though. I can see a third film on the horizon, and I can take a good guess at what might be coming but I also don’t doubt there’ll be some surprises along the way. 

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