Meg 2: The Trench (2023) Review
Meg 2: The Trench swims into theatres just in time for most people to forget what happened in the first one, including myself. It starts out taking itself too seriously before loosening up and letting the monsters shine. Jason Statham (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Ghosts of Mars) returns as the notorious eco-warrior Jonas Taylor. Shuya Sophia Cai (The Meg, Somewhere Only We Know) appears as his stepdaughter Meiying Zhang.
Her uncle Jiuming Zhang (Wu Jing, The Wandering Earth 2, Ride On) has inherited Mana One’s billion-dollar deep sea exploration company from his late father. The script also brings back a couple of other returning characters including Mac (Cliff Curtis, Avatar: The Way of Water, Sunshine) the unruffled operations manager, and DJ, the sassy but prepared engineer (Page Kennedy, Same Difference, Hip Hop Family Christmas Wedding).
Jonas is throwing himself into being an eco-warrior after his wife Suyin’s death (Li Bingbing, 7 Guardians of the Tomb, Transformers: Age of Extinction), but he feels uneasy about corporations muscling in on Mana One’s work. These corporate types are represented by Jess (Skyler Samuels, Scream Queens, Masquerade) and billionaire investor Hillary Driscoll (Sienna Guillory, Clifford the Big Red Dog, High Rise). Further complications include a Meg shark named Haiqi who has been trained from a pup by Jiuming escaping from the facility. What should be a simple submarine exploration of the Marianas Trench quickly gets out of control.
The movie spends the first half building up a corporate takeover at Mana One, and then abruptly switches gears to monster onslaught by way of pirates. At the half, Meg 2: The Trench decides to throw in some other ingredients which don’t really go anywhere, like an evil mining love interest and land sharks, (Editor’s note, hopefully it’s better than this one), if you can picture it. After much double-crossing and moustache twirling from the villains, there is a very satisfying chomp from a big shark, and momentum picks up. The monsters end up finishing out the movie at a tropical resort where all of them wreak satisfying havoc.
The monsters wreaking havoc is mostly a vehicle to showcase Jason Statham’s action chops. And yet, the monsters remain the most interesting part of the film. Other than a few jump scares, I think the one thing that thrilled me about the movie was Jiuming’s ability to be the shark whisperer. I wanted to see more about the ability to “tame” sharks and the shark, Haiqi, that escaped after working with Mana One.
My conclusion is that I’d probably be curious enough to see another one. But I wouldn’t be expecting any more out of it than I did this one. It’s important not to look too deep when enjoying blockbusters, whether it’s dinosaurs, an octopus, or sharks.