Disappointing Sequel of “The Meg” Falls Flat
As a dedicated fan of shark movies, it is with great disappointment that I must say Ben Wheatley’s “Meg 2: The Trench” is a colossal failure. The screenplay, penned by Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, and Dean Georgaris, shamelessly borrows from superior monster-unleashing films like “Aliens,” “Jurassic Park: The Lost World,” and “Underwater.” By doing so, it invites unfavorable comparisons to these esteemed predecessors, making it the most infuriating summer release of 2023. Despite the scarcity of megalodon-themed movies, “Meg 2: The Trench” feels all too familiar, like a repetitive creature feature that fails to captivate.
Returning as diver extraordinaire Jonas Taylor, Jason Statham’s character lacks the depth necessary to engage viewers who are not already familiar with his past exploits in underwater cryptozoology. The absence of Li Bingbing’s character, Suyin Zhang, further diminishes the film’s appeal, losing the charming romantic tension that existed between Statham and Li in the original film. Statham reverts to generic action-hero stereotypes, failing to capture the audience’s hearts as the “Protective Father Figure.” Sophia Cai’s character, Meiying Zhang, also fails to make a lasting impression, making the overall character development shallow and uninteresting.
Weak Scripting and Visuals
The screenplay of “Meg 2” lacks cohesion, failing to establish a strong connection with its predecessor. The story progresses through predictable action sequences, reminiscent of low-budget Syfy Originals rather than a high-profile Warner Bros. film. The dialogue feels uninspired, lacking creativity and depth, which is a stark contrast to Wheatley’s previous films. Furthermore, the visuals of the movie deteriorate as it progresses. While the underwater scenes showcasing unexplored ocean depths are visually stunning, the action sequences on land are plagued by poor green screen usage and rushed digital effects. The stark contrast in quality between the beginning and the latter half of the film is jarring.
Lack of Horror and Impact
The lack of genuine horror is another disappointment in “Meg 2.” The violence is tame, adhering to a PG-13 rating and mostly involving animal-related gore. The fright factor is minimal, with predictable scenes of megalodons swallowing victims whole. These repetitive and predictable moments fail to generate the desired impact on the audience.
Despite a promising start, the film quickly descends into mediocrity. Performances become lackluster, and attention to detail, especially in terms of visual effects, noticeably wanes. Even the presence of notable actors like Sienna Guillory and Skyler Samuels fails to inject life into their characters, resulting in forgettable performances. The film misses the mark even in technical aspects like ADR, further highlighting its lackluster execution.
Glimmers of Hope
There are fleeting moments in “Meg 2: The Trench” where it embraces the simple pleasures that made its predecessor enjoyable. Page Kennedy shines as the returning engineer DJ, delivering a character transformation from a timid individual to an unexpected action hero. Cliff Curtis provides light-hearted banter with Statham’s character, offering occasional moments of amusement. The introduction of reptilian mini-predators in The Trench adds a much-needed adversarial element. However, these few bright spots are not enough to salvage the overall disappointment of the film.
Not even carnage can salvage Meg 2