The Grue-Crew review MEG 2 (2023, MAX) on Gruesome Magazine episode 469. Jeff Mohr from Decades of Horror: The Classic Era, Crystal Cleveland, the Livin6Dead6irl from Decades of Horror: 1980s, topnotch filmmaker Christopher G. Moore, lead news writer Dave Dreher, and Doc Rotten share their thoughts well-nigh this week’s frightening wing to streaming horror films.
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Warning: possible spoilers without the initial impressions!
MEG 2: THE TRENCH (2023, MAX)
Synopsis: A research team encounters multiple threats while exploring the depths of the ocean, including a malevolent mining operation.
- Available Streaming on MAX whence September 29, 2023
- Directed by: Ben Wheatley
- Written by: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Dean Georgaris
- Cast: Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Shuya Sophia Cai, Cliff Curtis, Page Kenned, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Skyler Samuels, Melissanthi Mahut, Whoopie Van Raam, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Felix Mayr
oto Credit: @WarnerBrosPictures/YouTube
The Meg (2018) based on Steve Alten’s 1997 novel, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror did not feature that killer prologue from the novel—the T-Rex-megalodon face-off. The trailer of the sequel, Meg 2: The Trench, however, did feature the giant, prehistoric shark emerging from the sea 65 million years ago to chomp down on the T-Rex like the king of the Cretaceous was a crisp pakora. Despite paleontologists and other experts saying the two species were separated by many million years, it was a hilarious scene.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Starring: Jason Statham, Wu Jing, Sophia Cai, Page Kennedy, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Skyler Samuels, Cliff Curtis
Storyline: There are rogue miners apart from hungry apex predators in the deep that Taylor and team have to outgun and outrun
Run time: 116 minutes
With that opening, Meg 2 looked like it would be great camp fun like the first movie. Unfortunately, the trailer only flattered to deceive as all the jokes (including a character being eaten up mid-sentence as they say the facility is “meg-proof”), the creatures and the action, were crammed in its three-minute running time. And if you thought the remaining 113 minutes were filled with bigger stunts, nastier beasties and better jokes, crushing disappointment awaits.
Dreadful dialogue and worse writing with action leaping inexplicably from point A to L and then swerving into Q to finish at Y is rather annoying. Yes, action movies do not need to be deep and meaningful character studies but they at least need to make sense to keep up the tension.
Deep sea diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) after surviving the megalodon attack from the last movie is an eco warrior on a mission. After rounding up sundry people for dumping radioactive waste into the sea, Jonas jumps into a tux for a benefit dinner where Jiuming (Wu Jing) is presenting his plans to save the oceans.
In a rapid-fire presentation we learn of the deaths of Jiuming’s father, Zhang, and sister, Suyin — played by Winston Chao and Li Bingbing in The Meg. Jiuming also presents the special guest of the evening, the only megalodon in captivity, who graces the occasion with a tail fin rapidly cutting through the water — that scene incidentally is repeated ad nauseam. Suyin’s daughter, Meiying (Sophia Cai) is a precocious 14-year-old who insists she accompany the divers.
Off the gang go to the trench to check out their new suits or something and everything goes south. The stowaway does not help matters either. The megs are hunting in packs unlike their usual solo style, there is a squid, an octopus, some weird amphibious dinosaurs, and evil miners. Everyone is running hither and thither with the meg poking its head and smiling wickedly whenever there is a lull (which is quite often).
There are the party people on Fun Island waiting to be eaten and Jonah chasing the megs on a jet ski with an improvised harpoon as well as stopping the meg with his foot on the pier (also a part of the trailer). Apart from Statham and Cai, Page Kennedy as DJ, the engineer and comic relief, and Cliff Curtis as Taylor’s friend and head researcher James “Mac” Mackreides reprise their roles.
The Meg was genre fun at its best, which Meg 2 is decidedly not. Despite throwing everything into the movie, the resultant blend is a ghastly, slimy, waterlogged mess. Even the survival of the little dog, which reminds one of poor Pipit, who did not make it in the big daddy of shark movies, Jaws, does not help rescue the film.