Meg 2: The Trench
the meg | meg 2: the trench | sequel | ben wheatley | jon hoeber | erich hoeber | dean georgaris | based on | novel | steven alten | jason statham | jing wu | shuya sophia cai | action | adventure | sci-fi | thriller | united states | china | animal attack | shark | sharks
Film: Meg 2: The Trench
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber and Dean Georgaris
Starring: Jason Statham, Jing Wu and Shuya Sophia Cai
This was a movie that I learned about thanks to the TPUTS Collective show, Opera Omnia. Duncan and Mr. Watson covered the films of Ben Wheatley and they laughed about how he was taking on this sequel. That intrigued me. Wheatley is great at making surreal films but can also do a bit more mainstream from what I’ve gathered. This feels like a director for hire. I had fun with the first so that was what I was hoping for here.
Synopsis: a research team encounters multiple threats while exploring the depths of the ocean, including a malevolent mining operation.
Now I’ll admit, I didn’t read a synopsis or know much aside from what I shared in my intro. We start this back during the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. We see these creatures hunting the beach and they’re chased into the water by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. There is something lurking in the ocean that is much scarier though. We see a megalodon attack, close to the beach which makes it even more terrifying.
We then shift into the present day. We see Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) doing what looks like a morning routine. He is inside of a shipping container. It turns out that he’s become a secret agent of sorts. This freighter is dumping toxic waste into the ocean illegally. He’s there to gather evidence to expose them for prosecution. It is a daring mission, but he gets away thanks to Mac (Cliff Curtis) and Rigas (Melissanthi Mahut).
Jonas also works for a Chinese institute. They are dedicated to studying a megalodon they have in captivity. Jonas works with Jiuming Zhang (Jing Wu). His father and sister started this facility. He’s expanded it since he was a successful businessman who combined his resources with the institute. They’ve developed a suit that will allow them to study the trench where the megs were found. Also working here is Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai), DJ (Page Kennedy), Jess (Skyler Samuels), Sal (Kiran Sonia Sawar) as well as Mac and Rigas.
They go to a benefit to honor what Jiuming has done. It is there that Jonas notices Montes (Sergio Peris-Mencheta). He can’t tell how he knows him though. Jonas is pulled away by a joke from his co-worker. It is revealed that an exploration mission is upcoming. I did want to include here that Jiuming believes he’s trained their meg. It doesn’t look like it though as something is off with this giant shark.
This mission that was planned runs into unforeseen issues. The first is that Meiying snuck on to a submarine. Even though she was told to stay at mission control. Their megalodon also escapes and follows them into the trench. It is down there they meet the apex predator, an older meg that is scarred up and larger than any they’ve seen. There is something else down here they weren’t expecting. It is from the synopsis and this throws an issue into their plan. A hole is ripped in the barrier to the trench that allows more than just the megalodons escape. Humanity isn’t too far away from this area either.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is that having a sequel like this, you need to do what you did in the previous one and ramp that up. I do think that we get that. The problem that I have though is this movie is too long. It takes too much to get to what every is coming to see. Once we do, it’s great. This is just my initial overview so let me delve deeper now.
Let me start with the positives here. This is a well-made movie. I’m not just saying that because I’m a Wheatley fan either. There are aspects introduced early on that pay off later. What is interesting here is that this feels like it is borrowing from Godzilla: King of the Monsters that came out a few years ago and Godzilla vs. Kong. This hit me in the theater. The first is the commentary on the environment. There is the dumping of toxic waste. The underwater mining is hurting the area in the trench. I like this message. There are terrorists here that Jonas and crew deal with, which made me think of the latter Godzilla movie. The high amounts of money being made, I get why this was used. I’ll bring in a negative here, this feels too much like a spy movie and I didn’t care as much as this is the middle third of the runtime.
Sticking with the positives, I love the climax of this movie. We have multiple megalodons that get out. There are other sea creatures living down here that also attack humans. When this section started, I sat back and enjoyed the wild things that happened. There is a resort that gets attacked so we have more victims. You needed that. Incorporating other dinosaurs or large underwater sea life is also what you needed for a sequel and I’m there for that.
I think I’ll shift then to the effects. This is a CGI fest. There isn’t any other way you can do it though. There might be a couple blips that I noticed. For what we got here, I enjoyed it and none of it was a problem. What I think is good though is that we get to see things, but the movie also knows when to cut away. That is done strategically in my opinion. I liked the different animals incorporated here. Just to make sure I say it, the cinematography is good as well. Other than that, the soundtrack fit what was needed.
All that is left then is the acting. It is fine for the most part. Statham is good in his role. It is hard for me to believe he is a scientist with how good at fighting he is. There are things that he doesn’t that go a bit too far out of my realm of believability. It has to do with things in the end. I should suspend disbelief this this is grounded in as much realism as you can have. Wu is good as this businessman. I like how he and Jonas played off each other. Cai was solid too. I liked bringing her back. Curtis, Kennedy, Peris-Mencheta, Samuels, Mahut, Whoopie Van Raam, Sawar, Sienna Guillory and the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed. For the most part, they play distinct characters which is what they need.
In conclusion, this is a fun movie that gets bigger than what they did in the original. That is what I want for my sequels. I like that we get more sea creatures to attack people. There is an interesting commentary about taking care of the environment or it will fight back against you. The acting was good for what was needed. No one is great, but they’re not the focal point. I do have a gripe though. This runs too long. The focus on the espionage stuff wasn’t needed for me. I want to get to the mayhem. This is still fun and would recommend it if you liked the original or what I said here piqued your interest.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10