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Film Review: MEG 2: THE TRENCH (2023): Jason Statham Takes on Villains and Sharks in an Enjoyable but Mindless Action Sequel

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Jason Statham Meg The Trench

Meg 2: The Trench Review

Meg 2: The Trench (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Ben Wheatley, written by Jon Hoeber, Eric Hoeber and Dean Georgaris and starring Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Shuya Sophia Cai, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Skyler Samuels, Melissanthi Mahut, Whoopie Van Raam, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Felix Mayr, Sienna Guillory, Tao Guo, Robin Hill and Stewart Alexander.

Meg 2: The Trench opens with the song “Under Pressure” playing as our action hero played by Jason Statham is escaping a sticky situation he has found himself involved in at sea. That’s just the beginning of the action and it all starts off strong. Statham’s character, Jonas Taylor, is a hero’s hero and is a lot of fun to watch in just about any story line. Unfortunately, Meg 2: The Trench is overlong and tedious in the earlier stages although it makes up for this fact by giving us some truly exciting shark scenes towards the end featuring a Megalodon or two (or three).

Jonas and his crew end up being hoodwinked and are led to almost certain death down in the trench referred to in the film’s title. But, don’t worry because the smart beyond her years girl that Jonas has become a father figure to, Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai), has sneakily come on board with the crew to help them out. Jiuming Zhang (a reliable Jing Wu) plays second fiddle to Statham’s character as Jiuming takes the risk of swimming in scuba gear right in the vicinity of the giant shark which they are keeping in a huge tank for scientific purposes. Wu shines in his role in the movie and plays off Statham well.

Page Kennedy plays DJ, the most charismatic of the folks in Jonas and Jiuming’s group. Kennedy has a lot of fun with his role here and this makes for some inspired scenes such as rescue attempts and the final confrontation with the sharks towards the film’s conclusion could arouse laughter and applause.

In retrospect, a couple of characters turned bad such as Jess (Skyler Samuels) are basically just here as shark bait. Samuels revels in playing her wicked character here and has a couple of good scenes as she threatens Jonas and his crew, hoping they will probably drown and die. Anyone who has seen a movie before, though, knows that will not be the case and Jonas will defy all odds to save the day even if it means breathing under water longer than any human being probably could.

The real scene-stealer has to be Shuya Sophia Cai who keeps the movie down-to-earth as the charismatic Meiying. Meiying chooses to save a Yorkshire terrier at one point as people are getting attacked left and right by monsters and sharks. Cai has tremendous charm to spare and adds humor and appeal to the movie.

Let’s face it–you go to a movie like Meg 2: The Trench for the sharks. These Megalodons would certainly give Jaws a run for his money. One of the “megs” takes in several victims at the same time when it goes after beach-goers. However, this movie is not Jaws. Not by any stretch. Meg 2: The Trench has plenty of fun with the material and is entertaining but the audience never feels like the main characters are in any real danger except maybe for the villains headed by the vicious Montes (an effective Sergio Peris-Mencheta).

Director Ben Wheatley is capable in that he creates a movie that will appeal to a large number of undemanding movie-goers who like their action simple and to the point. However, gone are the days where we should have to wait until the last half hour to get all the shark action a movie like this should showcase. Yes, there are sharks in the action in the earlier scenes too but too much time is spent on our heroic characters trying to fight for their survival against other perils that the bad humans put the good ones in. Audiences will want more sharks early on and though the movie gives us a good amount of shark action at the end, it may feel like too little, too late for some viewers.

Still, Statham gives a terrific hero turn that helps make him one of our most successful action movie stars. His no-nonsense approach to his roles is welcome in a time where every hero character seems to have to be invincible. Statham plays his role as an ordinary character and the movie has fun with his seriousness to the point of becoming rather enjoyable to watch. When Jonas takes on the sharks who jeopardize him and his crew, it’s great fun to see Statham keep a straight face among all the craziness. There’s also some new species of monsters which will please people who may want to see Jonas fight more than just the basic villains and sharks.

Meg 2: The Trench doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. All the characters seem to be played by actors who know what the audience wants to see and the performers do the best they can to deliver the goods. There is humor sprinkled throughout the action which ultimately helps the film more than hurt it. How much you enjoy this sequel will depend on how big a Statham fan you are. If you are a die-hard Statham fan, nothing would keep you from being totally entertained by the film.

Rating: 6.5/10

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