‘Meg 2: The Trench’ Assessment: This Sequel Bites Arduous

Journalists attending the Meg 2: The Trench’s press screening got a voucher good for a “Sharktastic Cocktail” on the theater’s foyer bar. The final time I can recall a studio plying critics with booze earlier than a screening was Cats — and when that realization dawned on me, it set an expectation of weird awfulness for Meg 2 that the movie by no means fairly reached. Oh positive, Meg 2 is unhealthy, however not within the surreal WTF-am-I-seeing? manner that Cats is unhealthy. Meg 2 is the extra typical, extra typical, much less entertaining form of junk; the type you’ll want a couple of drink to take pleasure in.

The primary Meg wasn’t Jaws, nevertheless it wasn’t Jaws: The Revenge both. In truth, again in 2018, I gave it a optimistic evaluate on this very web site, writing…

Too a lot time is wasted on the characters, their connections, and the nitty gritty of ocean-floor rescue operations. Then The Meg returns to the floor, and its title character assaults Statham and his friends (please clap) at their high-tech ocean laboratory. Abruptly the movie blossoms into an endearingly foolish slasher film, full with ludicrous leap scares. (Because it seems, the largest shark that ever lived is surprisingly good at silently sneaking up on its prey.)

Meg 2, then, is a bit too devoted to the primary movie, as a result of it wastes even extra time on the characters, their connections, and the nitty gritty of ocean-floor rescues — and it provides a pointless subplot a couple of mine full of “uncommon Earth minerals” on the backside of the ocean. Minutes and minutes cross with out a single glimpse of a Meg (quick for “megalodon,” as in a large prehistoric shark) whereas the heroes examine this unlawful mining operation. The film is over 90 minutes earlier than the slasher part kicks in — and by that time, I used to be too bored to seek out a lot of something endearingly foolish.

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The most essential non-prehistoric character is as soon as once more diver and underwater rescue professional Jonas Taylor, performed by Jason Statham. As Meg 2 begins, Jonas will get into an enormous martial arts battle on a cargo boat with a bunch of unlawful poisonous waste dumpers. Why is a diver and underwater rescue professional spin-kicking sailors?  My finest guess is the filmmakers acknowledged that little or no of curiosity was going to occur over the subsequent hour of their film, and so they had been determined to get some form of pleasure into it.

After that transient diversion, the primary plot begins at a facility in China generally known as the “Oceanic Institute.” That’s the place Jonas works when he’s not punching poisonous waste dumpers. On the Institute, the only surviving Meg from the primary film lives in captivity, the place it’s studied by quite a lot of scientists, together with Jonas’ buddies (and returning The Meg actors) Mac (Cliff Curtis) and DJ (Web page Kennedy). Additionally readily available is Jiuming (Wolf Warrior’s Wu Jing), an inventor whose creations embody an exo swimsuit that may amplify the wearer’s power and assist them stand up to the immense stress on the backside of the ocean. Was it Chekhov who mentioned for those who introduce a strength-amplifying exo swimsuit within the first scene, it should amplify somebody’s power by the final scene?

Anyway, Jiuming additionally occurs to be the sister of Suyin, the feminine hero of The Meg performed by Li Bingbing — who didn’t return for the sequel, and thus is claimed to have died in some unspecified time in the future in between movies. (RIP.) However her character’s daughter, Meiying (Sophia Cai), continues to be round, and now lives together with her uncle (or with Jonas? It’s unclear.) to be able to proceed her essential function because the franchise’s designated moppet in misery.

Jiuming believes he can practice their captive Meg to obey his audio instructions. Jonas, who had an underwater dogfight with a Meg within the first movie, is understandably skeptical. Was it Chekhov who mentioned for those who introduce big prehistoric shark coaching within the first scene, a large prehistoric shark should reply to that coaching by the final scene?

Anyway, all of those characters, together with a number of others, head by means of an oceanic thermocline (simply Wikipedia it) on a routine exploratory dive to the underside of the ocean. Jonas’ staff has supposedly accomplished 25 straight dives to this trench with out an incident — however wouldn’t it, on the one we watch they uncover that unlawful mine, get into an escalating sequence of mishaps, and at last sq. off with a bunch of Megs and different assorted underwater creatures.

The lengthy stretch of Meg 2: The Trench truly set within the trench is tedious within the excessive, particularly within the part the place the characters need to put on Jiuming’s fits and verrrrrry slooooooowly trudge throughout the ocean ground to discover a manner again to the floor. This anti-chase climaxes in an unsightly and not possible to observe set piece involving a race to an airlock and away from some prehistoric monsters. From shot to shot, it’s not clear the place any of the people are in relation to one another, and so they maintain leaping round; they may appear a soccer discipline’s size away from the airlock in a single shot after which be inches from it within the subsequent. It appears to be like like … nicely, truthfully, it appears to be like such as you’re watching folks slowly march alongside the underside of the ocean inside equivalent scuba fits.

Look, I’m not fabricated from stone. When Jason Statham will get into what quantities to a jousting match with a trio of Megs whereas using a jet ski and brandishing explosive-tipped harpoons, I smile. When he dispatches an adversary with a shark-related pun, I chuckle. That’s what this complete film needs to be! As a substitute, these transient moments of delight are buried on the backside of an ocean of exposition, dumb plot twists, and incomprehensible underwater motion scenes.

With so little else to occupy my thoughts, at a sure level I started to watch that a number of Meg 2’s dialogue appears, in a meta manner, to consult with the film itself — as if the characters acknowledged they had been in a crappy movie, however had been powerless to flee it. These strains embody:

  • “Megs and people had been by no means meant to combine!”
  • “That is some dumbass s—, mark my phrases.”
  • “That is insane!”
  • “This feels unpleasantly acquainted.”
  • “Let’s simply hope it goes higher than the final time!”

Reader, it doesn’t.

RATING: 2/10

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