HCA Gradebook: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’June 21, 2023
HCA Gradebook: ‘Talk to Me’June 24, 2023
Film: Meg 2: The Trench (2023)
Plot: After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them
Cast: Jason Statham, Wu Jing, Sophia Cai, Page Kennedy, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Skyler Samuels, Cliff Curtis
Director: Ben Wheatley
Studio: Warner Bros.
Number of Graders: 14
Average Grade: C-
Meg 2 comes shockingly close to being a good action film. The set pieces are fun and occasionally inventive. But the film doesn’t do enough to make you care about anything that happens to any of these people. Sadly, it ends up feeling like a retread of far better films.
Like the first one, Meg 2 is wild and sometimes silly but a fun summer monster movie we expected! The opening sequence and any scene with Meg or other creatures are fun to watch. It should be watched on the biggest screen possible. But disappointed that Wu Jing didn’t get to do as many action scenes.
If anyone is considering seeing Meg 2: The Trench, they should prioritize seeing it in Regal’s 4DX format. What is 4DX? It’s the most immersive moviegoing experience anyone with $30 can buy. A 4D experience, complete with fans blowing air in your face, chairs shaking and jerking around during explosions, and plenty of water in the case of a giant megalodon squaring off against a slack-jaw Jason Statham in the ocean. The final half-hour of Meg 2: The Trench was like I was in the shower as water sprayed me from every angle (I could’ve pressed the handy “turn the water off” button beside my cup holder, but where’s the fun?) In other words, 4DX is a rollercoaster fitting for a movie like Meg 2, a loud, dumb, ludicrous, and obnoxious summer blockbuster where you don’t want to think anyway. You could argue Ben Wheatley’s follow-up to the surprise 2018 hit was made for this format.
The Meg 2: The Trench drips with glorious campy stupidity. It steers into what it is – an overtly over-the-top mess of ridiculously ludicrous ideas and insanely bad acting and effects. And that’s kind of awesome! This is a movie that is so incredibly self-aware about how idiotic the premise of the first one was and decided to go “hold my beer” and top the lunacy. I’m astonished WB poured as much money as it did on one of the finest pieces of B-movie studio trash to come out in years! A delightful ridiculous ride with a lot of bite!
Meg 2: The Trench is a ridiculous film that works in fits and starts. The addition of Ben Wheatley as director takes it in more subversive directions, but even his inventive filmmaking brain can’t quite make the whole thing swim. For Jason Statham, it’s quickly becoming his Fast franchise – and despite some winks for his Jonas Taylor, he takes it as seriously as Vin Diesel does in the car nonsense that Statham occasionally pops up in. The effects are the real whale in the room here; shockingly, Sharknado level sometimes lessens the impact. But it has entertainment air in its tanks to stay afloat for a wild, outrageous summer schlock-buster.
Meg 2: The Trench isn’t doing much to be more than it suggests – a sequel to a film with the premise of “that’s a huge shark.” Granted, sometimes that’s all you need, but this second entry feels too loosely strung together.
The Meg 2 was an unneeded sequel that failed to capture what made the original so good. The nearly two-hour run time was a massive mistake. That said, the film’s final thirty minutes was utter nonsense and precisely what I wanted the rest of the film to be – stupid fun.
Meg 2: The Trench struggles to match the thrill of its predecessor. The film lacks in character development, narrative originality, and emotional engagement despite its potential for thrilling underwater adventures and a talented cast.
The Meg 2 is one of those movies that’s so incredibly bad – it just might be good. You know, the kind. Thoroughly entertaining because you’re laughing so hard that it’s trying to take itself seriously. Or is it? Tough call here. But Jason Statham is in a fight in the first 30 secs of the film, so that should tell you something. It’s way less Sharky than the first – which doesn’t make a lot of sense – but if you have 2 hrs to kill… go for it!
Wendy Lee Szany
A muddled storyline weighed down the plot. The new characters in the sequel were dropped in abruptly, and I felt no connection to them. Li Bing Bing’s presence was missed, although I greatly enjoyed Wu Jing’s character. The third act was the kind of over-the-top ridiculous fun I was hoping for, unfortunately, acts one and two had a completely different beat.
Meg 2: The Trench is one of my least favorite studio films in quite a while. The characters are wooden, the jokes are stale, the logical jumps required are ludicrous (even for a giant shark movie), and the decision to focus on an uninteresting corporate espionage plot for the first 2/3 of the movie was decidedly unwise. What little fun there is to be had is constrained to the last 20 minutes of the film, and even that was completely given away in the trailer. The only bright spot is some impressive-looking special effects. Otherwise, this is a total dud.
Meg 2: The Trench is one of the films where one asks, “How did this get made?” I know the answer is that the first film made lots of money, but this movie feels like a machine made it. The story is non-existent, the dialogue is cringeworthy, and the action feels cheap and uninspired. Somehow The Meg 2 had a production budget of over $129 million, yet it looks and feels like something you would see on the SYFY channel. Sharknado, at least, knew it was campy; this one doesn’t even know what it wants to be. Just plain awful.
Had Meg 2: The Trench gone into production during the current strikes by the writers’ and actors’ unions, there would have been no reason to shut the production down. There is nothing in this sequel to the 2018 film that even comes close to being a script, and the acting is even less apparent.
Earlier this year, Cocaine Bear was an example of how to make a crazy, insane “when nature attack” movie! Meg 2: The Trench is an example of how not to make that kind of movie. Even with a different director at the helm (Ben Wheatley), nothing from the first movie was improved. However, I now have a bigger appreciation for that first movie considering that the sharks aren’t even the sequel’s focus. It mostly centers around corporate espionage and a secret mining facility, with the sharks popping up occasionally. The characters are as dull and irritating as ever, with Jason Statham showing no enthusiasm for the role this time. The script is pledged with cliched lines and predictable outcomes that make you wonder whether or not this was written by artificial intelligence. The only bright side about this stinker of a sequel is that it never reaches the lows of Jaws: The Revenge. It’s a pure backhanded compliment, but that’s the best I can say. It’s not fun to watch and can’t even be enjoyed in that “so bad it’s good” perspective.