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Meg 2: The Trench Review – All Those Teeth and Still No Bite

That’s the problem right there, though. With the first movie already chronicling, albeit in humorous fashion, the classic narrative of humans discovering and fighting a giant new monster they’ve never seen before, that cliché has been taken off the table for Meg 2. So short of finding even bigger and meaner megs—the movie’s new creatures, called “Snappers,” are actually smaller, sort of low-rent underwater velociraptors—the movie settles for keeping more copies of the meg from the first film lurking around while a sabotage thriller rattles around up front for more than an hour.

As for the other monsters in the movie, including those Snappers, they’re so spottily generated by CG and so perfunctorily introduced, often in murky underwater scenes that are barely watchable, that even the sense of awe generated at certain moments in the first movie is not present here.

We kept waiting for Meg 2 to break out, but the first two acts present us with a plot and new characters we care little about (it’s hard to even parse the names of all the undistinguished supporting cast members who die in the first half of the story), as well as generic, easy-to-spot villains, and hard-to-define stakes. An all-out battle in the finale between monsters, heroes, and enemies on another island resort literally called Fun Island does liven up the proceedings with some entertaining deaths and a few hilariously heroic moments for Statham and friends. But it all comes too little, too late.

Statham scowls his way through the movie, as usual, and is always a welcome presence, but you get the sense that he’s going through the motions. And without a formidable female foil like Li BingBing in the first film (Rigas makes little impression, and the kid is just there to get herself in life-threatening situations), the movie turns into a half-hearted bromance between Statham and Jing.

This is easily Ben Wheatley’s least interesting film, and we hope that if he continues to dabble with making movies in the studio system, he finds an opportunity to really apply his often-skewed, frequently eerie worldview to something more compelling. The Meg found a nice balance between monster movie and camp send-up, and you got the sense that everyone was in on the joke. But you can’t tell the same joke twice and get the same response, and that’s what ultimately sinks Meg 2 all the way to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Meg 2: The Trench is in theaters Friday (August 4).

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