Jason Statham faces off against a megalodon again in Meg 2: The Trench. Directed by Ben Wheatley, the sequel to 2018’s The Meg also stars renowned Chinese film stars Wu Jing (Jiuming Zhang), and Shuya Sophia Cai (Meiying). Meg 2 doesn’t see the return of Li Bingbing, who starred in the first film, and she is written off from the story.
The biggest strength of Meg 2: The Trench is that it doesn’t take itself seriously, unlike its predecessor. Instead, it leans into the weirdness and campiness of the plot. At one point, Jonas Taylor (Statham) rides a wave to fight a shark, and you don’t even question it. The film also avoids movie stereotypes with characters of color, by having the white characters as the villains and the ones who are always dying (Sergio Peris-Mencheta, who is of Spanish descent, does play a mercenary). I would have enjoyed the inclusion of a Latino character in the movie, but seeing people of color treated this way in a summer blockbuster is just so heartwarming, and made the movie an even more fun experience.
Meg 2: The Trench is in theaters now.
Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist. To support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, donate to the Entertainment Community Fund.
Get ready for the ultimate adrenaline rush this summer in “Meg 2: The Trench,” a literally larger-than-life thrill ride that supersizes the 2018 blockbuster and takes the action to higher heights and even greater depths with multiple massive Megs and so much more! Dive into uncharted waters with Jason Statham and global action icon Wu Jing as they lead a daring research team on an exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean. Their voyage spirals into chaos when a malevolent mining operation threatens their mission and forces them into a high-stakes battle for survival. Pitted against colossal Megs and relentless environmental plunderers, our heroes must outrun, outsmart, and outswim their merciless predators in a pulse-pounding race against time. Immerse yourself in the most electrifying cinematic experience of the year with “Meg 2: The Trench” – where the depths of the ocean are matched only by the heights of sheer, unstoppable excitement!
Warner Bros. Pictures and CMC Pictures present “Meg 2: The Trench,” with Statham and Jing headlining an ensemble cast that also includes Sophia Cai (“The Meg”), Page Kennedy (“The Meg”), Sergio Peris-Mencheta (“Rambo: Last Blood”), Skyler Samuels (“The Gifted”), and Cliff Curtis (“Avatar” franchise).
“Meg 2: The Trench” is directed by Ben Wheatley (“In the Earth,” “Free Fire”), from a screenplay by Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber (“The Meg,” “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”) and Dean Georgaris (“The Meg,” “Lara Croft: Toom Raider – The Cradle of Life”), and a screen story by Dean Georgaris and Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber, based on the novel The Trench by Steve Alten. The film is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“The Meg,” “Bumblebee”) and Belle Avery (“The Meg,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”), and executive produced by Jason Statham, Cate Adams, Ruigang Li, Catherine Xujun Ying, Wu Jing, E. Bennett Walsh, Erik Howsam, Gerald R. Molen and Randy Greenberg.
Joining director Wheatley behind the camera are director of photography Haris Zambarloukous (“Belfast,” “Murder on the Orient Express”), production designer Chris Lowe (“The Gray Man,” “No Time to Die”) and editor Jonathan Amos (“Baby Driver,” “Paddington 2”). The visual effects supervisor is Pete Bebb (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Inception”), and costume designer is Lindsay Pugh (“The Matrix Resurrections,” “Krypton”). The music is by Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Meg,” “The Martian”).
Warner Bros. Pictures and CMC Pictures present, in association with DF Pictures, a di Bonaventura/Apelles Entertainment, Inc. production, a Ben Wheatley film, “Meg 2: The Trench.” It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and is set to open in theaters in North America on August 4, 2023 and internationally beginning 02 August 2023.
REVIEW – An Unapologetically Ridiculous Thrill Ride
Meg 2: The Trench is a two hour long comedic thrill ride. Meg 2 is unapologetically ridiculous with the action and plotlines. Some moments are quite predictable, with decisions by characters that will obviously go the wrong way, but in a movie about fighting sharks, those can be overlooked. There are multiple megalodons in this feature, and on top of that, mercenaries who are working to sabotage the film’s heroes, Jiuming (Wu Jing), Jonas (Jason Statham), and Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai). The plot is more intricate this way than if it had just had our core trio surviving against the sharks. It’s not as straightforward as the heroes vs villains either, since there are three parties, and the third act is an all out fight between the three.
The dialogue in Meg 2 is a bit cheesy at times, but writers Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, and Dean Georgaris did a fantastic job crafting not only a fun action movie, but one that is also hilarious, and thrilling. One such scene has the crew trying to get inside before the oxygen in their suits run out, and it is so tense that when the sequence finally ended I was wide-eyed and speechless.
In the film, Jiuming is taking a crew into the “Trench,” which is over 25,000 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean, on an exploratory mission. Jonas, Mac (played by Cliff Curtis), DJ (played by Page Kennedy) are among the crew, and Meiying sneaks aboard the craft. Meiying is Jiuming’s niece, and her relationships with him and Jonas are fun to watch on screen because they obviously care for each other and Jonas is very protective of her. Later in the film, we learn that Meiying takes after Jiuming and Jonas with her desire to help people, even if that’s against what she was told to do. In one scene, Jonas basically begs Meiying to listen to him because he can’t focus on what he needs to do if he’s worried about her. Statham’s delivery in that scene is touching, as it is vulnerable and serious, in contrast to the humor surrounding their relationship prior to that.
The plot is as funny as it is ridiculous, and the actors really bring their comedy talents to the table. Wu Jing and Jason Statham have some great scenes together. Another standout is Page Kennedy’s DJ. Aside from being really funny when he remarks on the bad decisions being made, he is the one character in the film prepared for the situation they’re in. Since the events of the last film, DJ says he’s since learned to fight, and has an arsenal of survival/useful items as if he’s Batman. It’s really fun to see him treated not just as comedic relief, but taking back stereotypes because he’s always ready for what lies ahead.
The same can be said of Jiuming. He gets to be a badass and save the day on many occasions, and he looks amazing while doing it; without getting killed off as Asian characters typically are in action movies. He and Meiying are integral to the plot and have their own agency and motivations in the action scenes.
After the climactic battle, there are some unanswered questions, and it’s unclear what impact of the film’s events will have on Jiuming and his company. It doesn’t lack a conclusion in terms of character growth and relationships, but the fallout of these events is something I typically like to learn about at the end of a film, and was a little disappointed to not see on screen.
RATING – 4.5/5 Pocky
Jorgie is a pop culture fan and contributor at POCculture.com. He loves learning about visual effects, production, film, and art, and how they all come together to make films like Star Wars.