Meg 2 The Trench: The movie adaptation of Steve Alten’s 1997 novel, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror,” known as “The Meg” (2018), omitted the thrilling T-Rex-megalodon face-off prologue from the original book. However, the trailer for its sequel, “Meg 2: The Trench,” showcased a jaw-dropping scene featuring a giant prehistoric shark emerging from the depths of the sea 65 million years ago, engaging in a showdown with a T-Rex, reminiscent of devouring a crisp pakora. Despite the scientific disparity between the timelines of these two creatures, the sequence brought humor to the table.
Initially, the trailer for “Meg 2” promised a continuation of the entertaining campiness of the first film. Regrettably, the actual movie fell short of expectations, as the trailer seemed to offer all the humor, creatures, and action within its three-minute duration. The film failed to deliver on the promise of more significant stunts, fiercer creatures, and better jokes, leading to a sense of crushing disappointment throughout the remaining 113 minutes.
The poor quality of dialogue and subpar writing, coupled with erratic action sequences jumping inexplicably from point A to L, then veering into Q and concluding at Y, is rather vexing. While action movies aren’t expected to delve deeply into character studies, they should at least maintain coherence to sustain tension.
Jason Statham’s character, deep-sea diver Jonas Taylor, survives a megalodon attack from the previous movie and transforms into an eco-warrior on a mission. His task involves assembling a group of individuals responsible for dumping radioactive waste into the ocean. Amidst this, Jonas switches to formal attire for a benefit dinner where Jiuming (Wu Jing) presents his plans to protect the oceans.
In a whirlwind of information, the audience learns about the tragic deaths of Jiuming’s father, Zhang, and sister, Suyin (played by Winston Chao and Li Bingbing in “The Meg”). The evening’s special guest is the only megalodon in captivity, repeatedly showcased slicing through the water with its tail fin. Suyin’s precocious 14-year-old daughter, Meiying (Sophia Cai), insists on joining the diving expedition.
The team heads to the trench, equipped with new gear, only for everything to go awry. Matters are worsened by an unexpected stowaway. The megalodons now hunt in groups, unlike their usual solitary behavior. There’s a chaotic mix of a squid, an octopus, strange amphibious dinosaurs, and antagonistic miners. Amidst the chaos, everyone scrambles about, and the megalodons menacingly appear whenever there’s a lull.
Scenes include stranded partygoers on Fun Island awaiting their fate, Jonah chasing the megalodons on a jet ski armed with an improvised harpoon, and a moment from the trailer where he confronts the meg with his foot on a pier. Apart from Statham and Cai, returning actors Page Kennedy as DJ, the engineer providing comic relief, and Cliff Curtis as Jonas’s friend and head researcher James “Mac” Mackreides, reprise their roles.
While “The Meg” offered genre-enjoyment at its peak, “Meg 2” falls significantly short. Despite throwing everything into the film, the resulting concoction is a dreadful, messy, waterlogged disaster. Even the survival of a small dog, reminiscent of poor Pipit from “Jaws,” does little to salvage the movie.
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