“Meg 2: The Trench” stars Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor, a sort of James Bond marine biologist… I think. It’s unclear what exactly his job is other than fighting prehistoric sharks. This film doesn’t have much of a plot — at least not a coherent one — and that can sometimes work for B movies like this as long as it’s entertaining. Meg 2 certainly isn’t that. This is corporate sludge from the deepest abyss.
What’s most compelling about this film isn’t the film itself, but rather its development. This is a joint venture between American and Chinese production companies, but it was engineered to cater toward China more than any other nation. This is blatant throughout, as most of the film takes place in and around China, the characters often speak Mandarin, and the co-lead with Statham is a new character (Jiuming) played by Wu Jing, an immensely famous movie star in China. There’s even a Chinese pop song playing over the end credits.
I have no issue with the involvement of China in an American Warner Bros. film, but what I do have an issue with is how evident it is that Warner Bros. designed the film solely to make money in one market. It’s the definition of a cashgrab. “Meg 2: The Trench” has zero passion or effort behind it. There’s absolutely no soul here because it’s just a compilation of events caught on camera that were carefully engineered for Warner Bros. to make money off of the Chinese population. This is not a film. This is a product. This is not meant to be experienced. This is meant to be consumed.
Beyond its corporate feel, there’s so much else wrong with this film. Firstly, the performances. What happened? How could everyone be so abysmal across the board? Statham is plagued with narcolepsy throughout this thing yet he somehow does the best out of the whole cast, except for maybe Wu Jing who’s just fine. The acting is just as wooden, dull, and uninspired as the story. Most egregious is the work of Skylar Samuels as Jess. She has that irritating CW style of acting with the breathy, exhausted voice and the eyebrows that clench together — it’s absolutely impossible to take her performance seriously.
Speaking of irritating, Meiying (the daughter of Statham’s character) is a parasite that further annihilated this already failing film. Just like the weird clone girl from “Jurassic World: Dominion” (which shares a ton of similarities with Meg 2 by the way), the 14-year-old Meiying is brutally annoying as the script contrives ways for her to get involved in situations she shouldn’t be prepared for. Yet again we have the genius prodigy who talks down to the adults because she’s somehow far more intelligent than those experienced, specialized individuals. Honestly, she was a far more unlikable antagonist than any of the unintimidating megalodons.
Another issue is the dialogue, all of which feels like it was written by a bootleg Chat GPT. Here’s some of the banger lines these hack writers came up with:
- “Let’s get this show on the water.”
- “We’re a strong group. We can do this.”
- “We do what’s in front of us. Then we do the next thing.”
- “Hey there, treehugger!”
- “Help people! Go help all the people you got!”
Now, the film isn’t all bad. The final twenty minutes are actually quite fun and deliver on what the audience wants from a schlocky movie like this. There’s some pretty clever and intense action sequences, albeit too dependent on CGI. I also appreciate that it had a reasonable runtime under two hours. Modern Hollywood’s three-hour-long movie trend is a plague. That’s it though. There’s not much else to enjoy here and there’s certainly no substance either. Martin Scorsese would despise this thing.