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The Meg 2: The Trench (2023) - Movie Review

Movies & TV

By Olivia S.

- Aug 19, 2023

In the world of cinema, directors like Ben Wheatley have garnered attention and respect for their innovative approaches to film. Known for the groundbreaking originality observed in movies like “Kill List” and “In the Earth,” many cinephiles held high expectations when they heard of Wheatley's directorial role in “Meg 2: The Trench.” Unfortunately, anyone seeking a repeat of Wheatley's trademark creativity will need to set their sights elsewhere.

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Echoing the lackluster atmosphere of Wheatley’s 2020 rendition of “Rebecca,” “Meg 2” is largely a letdown. Instead of taking audiences on a thrilling roller coaster ride, the movie seems to lumber forward at an unhurried pace. The formidable giant shark, an element one would expect to dominate, surprisingly faded into the background. This monstrous being is curiously overshadowed by a mundane plotline revolving around underwater drilling. This makes the film notably underwhelming and devoid of the anticipated tension.

Jason Statham, an actor synonymous with riveting action sequences, disappointingly appears uninspired, reprising his role as Jonas. As a deep-sea expert with the Zhang Institute, Jonas was central to the discovery of the Megalodon in the first movie. The sequel introduces a potentially intriguing twist: the institute has been housing a Megalodon for research purposes. However, the storyline soon loses its grip. The creature, against the hopes of an inconsistently portrayed Jiuming (Wu Jing), escapes captivity. The film could have leveraged this escape for a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat experience, yet it chooses a more convoluted path.

The screenplay, a collaboration between Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, and Dean Georgaris, seems to meander. Instead of focusing on the impending threat of the escaped Megalodon, it dives deep into the creature's oceanic trench home. But as Jonas and his team venture deeper into these treacherous waters, they come across more such creatures. If this wasn't enough of a deviation, the narrative throws in another curveball: a nefarious human-driven underwater mining operation. The film’s pace grinds to a crawl when the team’s equipment is destroyed, culminating in a painstakingly slow scene that depicts their trek across the ocean floor.

Occasional moments of tension emerge, mainly revolving around the character Meiying, portrayed by Sophia Cai, who is a link to the original movie. As the plot progresses, several central characters find their way to Fun Island, a location seemingly chosen as a backdrop for potential thrills, especially considering its marine inhabitants. Yet, these exciting elements only come into play far too late in the film's trajectory.

Even action-packed sequences in “The Trench” feel weighed down and somber. It's bewildering to see the film downplay scenes that should inherently brim with excitement, such as Jason Statham facing off against colossal sharks. It's a far cry from the dark humor and spine-chilling horror that Wheatley's fans have come to adore. Perhaps the limitations imposed by the movie's rating were a dampening factor? Additionally, an attempt at comic relief through a subplot involving Cliff Curtis and Page Kennedy feels jarringly out of sync with the rest of the movie. One striking issue is the film’s inability to address consequences. Characters meet their ends with a fleeting nod, a detail that seems to have been glossed over in the grand scheme.

The movie's predictability isn't inherently its downfall. After all, viewers anticipate Statham's signature heroics in such films. The problem lies in its execution. Wheatley, known for reshaping narratives and bending genres, seems restricted and disengaged within the confines of this conventional tale.

A poignant moment arises when Jiuming speaks of human limitation being only due to imagination. This statement, however, is ironic in light of the film that unfolds. Instead of standing as a testament to boundless creativity, “Meg 2: The Trench” serves as a glaring reminder of missed opportunities.


3 / 10