MEG 2 The Trench Review: Shallow Waters Ahead
In Hollywood’s ceaseless tidal wave of sequels, “Meg 2: The Trench,” helmed by an occasionally astute Ben Wheatley, tries to chart its own course. But as the waters clear, we’re left to wonder: has Wheatley drowned in his own ambitious undertow or merely waded into unfamiliar cinematic depths?
The film’s premise — a rogue, action-hero lead diving headfirst into the abyss to fight massive prehistoric sharks — had undeniable promise. After all, the mashup of Jason Statham’s hardened, action-driven persona with the eeriness of an underwater behemoth hunt is the stuff of blockbuster dreams. However, much like its predecessor, this sequel struggles to fully capitalize on its inherent appeal. The plot is akin to a layered ocean — complex and multifaceted but often murky, making navigation for the audience a tad more challenging than one would hope.
Wheatley, celebrated for his distinct cinematic style in films like “Kill List” and “A Field in England,” here tries to merge the thrilling with the surreal. While some sequences — such as the brilliantly lit, geographically cogent “Fun Island” climax — achieve this, many underwater scenes, brimming with potential tension, sadly descend into visual incoherence. It’s a struggle to differentiate friend from foe, human from beast, in the muddled depths. This not only clouds the suspense but somewhat dilutes the emotional resonance the scenes could have carried.
The first “Meg” movie, though a commercial hit, critically swam in tepid waters. It presented a universe where the ancient and contemporary collided but often fell prey to narrative clichés. Its sequel bears the burden of its heritage. Yet, it tries to infuse more depth, focusing on Jonas’s character arc — from lover to eco-warrior and surrogate father. Jason Statham offers a decent performance, striving to add layers to a character who, at times, is left high and dry by the screenplay.
The supporting cast, especially the charismatic Wu Jing as Jiuming and Sophia Cai’s endearing portrayal of Meiying, try their best to anchor the drifting plot. Their performances, juxtaposed with the sometimes lackluster screenplay, remind us of the power of human emotion, even in a world dominated by monstrous creatures. Sadly, the ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts‘ story team couldn’t deliver on a giant shark movie.
Artistically, the film evokes a mixture of emotions. From the wonder of CGI-rendered prehistoric creatures to the raw human instinct of survival, it offers a roller coaster of feelings. But where it succeeds in giving us awe-inspiring moments, it equally falters in delivering consistent suspense.
“Meg 2: The Trench,” though ambitious, often struggles to stay afloat amidst its narrative challenges and unclear visual storytelling. However, it’s buoyed by commendable performances and fleeting moments of true cinematic beauty. This dive might not be for everyone, but for those willing to brave the waters, there might be treasures to find.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5.
MEG 2: The Trench is now playing in theaters.