Another fin catastrophe for Jason Statham in Meg 2: The Trench

Ben Wheatley’s prehistoric shark sequel comes adrift in a surfeit of new lizardy threats, a clunking screenplay and a total lack of onscreen chemistry

It’s hard to imagine that a film in which Jason Statham kicks a juggernaut-sized prehistoric shark in the teeth might turn out to be a colossal bore, but here we are. Despite the Stath-v-megalodon foot-to-face interaction; despite numerous shots of gigantic, battle-scarred fins hurtling at speed towards the camera; despite Ben Wheatley – a man who knows his way around pulpsploitation flicks – in the director’s seat, the sequel to the deep-sea monster attack movie The Meg is a dinosaur-shaped dud.

Meg 2: The Trench film review: More beasties does not necessarily mean a  better film - The Hindu

In the quest to be bigger, scarier and showier than the first film, The Meg 2 brazenly steals from other pictures (think Jurassic Shark) and throws a bunch of extra creatures into the mix. Not only are there multiple megalodons; there is a pack of ocean-dwelling fish-lizard-creatures so savage that they seem to have an extra set of teeth on their chins. There’s an unheralded tentacled monster that appears out of nowhere to beef up the third-act climax.

This franchise needs to be buried at the bottom of the Atlantic for a couple of decades

And there are the rapacious forces of consumerism, represented by a silky-voiced villain (to reveal their identity would be a major spoiler) intent on enrichment at the expense of the delicate balance of the ocean and the safety of humankind. Thus the cloddish screenplay loses the essential purity of the “man v shark” premise of the original and finds itself fighting a battle on multiple fronts.

Meanwhile, Wheatley is ill-served by writing that is all about delivering OTT action – and in this, at least, the film more or less succeeds – but lacks the punchy, cynical humour and crackling dialogue of, say, Free Fire. But the film’s main issue is the complete chemistry vacuum between the cast, who appear to be delivering their lines in isolation, oblivious to the other actors who are sharing the screen at any given time.

This franchise needs to be buried at the bottom of the Atlantic for a couple of decades, along with some illegally dumped nuclear waste. Perhaps then it might finally mutate into something entertaining.

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