Shut up Meg, we have bigger fish to fry. Or bigger octopuses. Whatever. Either way Jason Statham returns as Jonas Taylor, a name that you've definitely forgotten, in Meg 2: The Trench which obviously is a sequel to 2018's sci-fi action splash 'The Meg'. This time adapting the novel 'The Trench' by Steve Alten and changing directors with Ben Wheatley, the movie returns to Taylor's life with sharks after five years have passed, him collaborating with a crew that includes Jiuming (Jing Wu), his niece and Taylor's step-daughter Meiying (Sophia Cai), engineer DJ (Page Kennedy), Mac (Cliff Curtis) and Rigas (Melissanthi Mahut). They become the prey to predators, whether they are hungry Megalodons or evil humans like Montes (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a mercenary who's leading an illegal mining operation for those who want Taylor's crew eliminated altogether.
Something for sure smells fishy here and a big part of ''The Stench'' comes down to the quality of screenwriting, handled by Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber and Dean Georgaris, and how it's seemingly mangled and ravaged in the process. It's almost an understatement to say that this movie is dumb with a capital D but its ''villains'' are so generic it hurts, with little to no introduction given to them before Peris-Mencheta and Sienna Guillory (as Hillary Driscoll, a billionaire and Montes' superior) are tasked to deliver awful exposition which reveals their cookie-cutter plans. Our ''heroes'' don't have much more depth either since they're programmed—rather than written—to do the stupidest things imaginable just for the sake of plot development, biggest offender being the character of Meiying whose poorly constructed emotional bond with Taylor also doesn't raise the stakes at all.
Man-versus-shark movies should inherently be at least dumb fun but the fun is completely missing here, excluding the much better movie happening inside Kennedy's head who somehow manages to deliver some laughs in the midst of toothless action. Maybe you know, just maybe, spending so much time with that boring mining operation plot line is a mistake when people just want big sharks causing big trouble, something that you finally get in the last 30 minutes and only some of it even looks decent. With lacklustre CGI in the opening's prehistoric setting, lousy sea creature fights later on, Statham's unexcited collecting of a paycheck in his leading man role and toned-down PG-13 mayhem, the film isn't really worth a deep dive.
Smileys: Page Kennedy
Frowneys: Screenplay, characterisation, VFX, story
We are in shark decline.