Meg 2: The Trench – So Ridiculous, It Entertains!

There are two simple reasons why a film company doesn’t offer critic or fan pre-screenings – the franchise creators feel no need and expect to make millions easily, OR the filmmakers want to sell as many tickets as they can before word gets out that the movie sucks. Ironically, Meg 2: The Trench falls somewhere in between. Meg 2, like its predecessor, The Meg, hits all the off-the-wall marks for shark-related disaster films. Still, like the first, the premise is so over the top (dare I say asininely silly) that it’s fans of stupid shark films and, more likely, fans of the film’s star, Jason Statham, flock to see it.

Statham reprises his role as environmentalist and super-human Jonas Taylor. He’s joined on this adventure by returning teammates James “Mac” Mackreides (Cliff Curtis), DJ (Page Kennedy), and Jess (Skyler Samuels). Shuya Sophia Cai returns as Meiying (now 14), and Meiying’s uncle Jiuming Zhang, played by international super-star Jing Wu, joins the team. The cast is solid and amusing, except for the film’s villains, who are cartoonish and ridiculous, especially Sergio Peris-Mencheta (Montes), who seems to aim for a cartel-type baddie and comes across more like a mindless, growling guard dog.

Meg 2 has the team discovering an illegal mining operation run by people close to them, and within the film’s first few minutes, they are fighting for their lives. These are ample characters used for fodder – killed by megs, water pressure, and other perils of the ocean. Director Ben Wheatley makes countless continuity goofs like the number of spears Jonas creates, has, uses, and has again or the fact Jonas can harpoon a meg with a helicopter blade. Still, these silly mistakes make the film fun to watch and, frankly, to make fun of.

Director Ben Wheatly takes every opportunity to play up outlandish stunts, insane scenarios, and wildly implausible story elements. Moving from life-or-death underwater scenes to crazy, colorful “fun-island’ megalodon mayhem, the ensemble cast shines with clever dialogue, excellent timing, and a noticeable lack of seriousness in the whole affair. The film’s stars play well to the campiness and make Meg 2 super fun to watch. I did find the shark sequences lacking in that they often seem like afterthoughts to the underlying story and human baddies. Still, I am a fan – if for no other reason than the cast. Yes, it is ridiculous, but I enjoyed the ride. I am putting three stars up top.

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