“Bad” movies can be sorted into two categories. For instance, the first “Meg” movie — released in 2018 — received mostly negative press, but acquired its own cult following and fair share of defenders because while it was completely nonsensical, it was still stupid in a fun way.
On the other hand, some movies are just bad in the purest sense of the word. They lack any of the kitschy humor, self-awareness or any other redeeming traits that make some “bad” movies fun to watch.
“Meg’s” sequel “Meg 2: The Trench” is completely devoid of any of the joy that made the first installment successful.
“The Trench” follows Jason Statham as Jonas, a sea expeditor that crosses paths with the prehistoric and shark-like megalodons.
The rest of the cast comprises any minor character from the first film who could be coaxed to come back, as well as seemingly any other actor who didn’t have anything better to do during the time “The Trench” was filmed.
At least, it certainly doesn’t feel like any of them chose to participate in the movie because of their passion for the project, as all of their performances are joylessly and robotically executed.
But actors can’t even be blamed for their poor performances when the dialogue they work with is so atrociously inept, forcing one to genuinely wonder if the executives behind “Meg” asked artificial intelligence to write a sequel and didn’t even look at the script prior to filming.
The most tired quips and one-liners are spewed out of characters’ mouths, sucking any happiness out of the audience like a fearsome dementor from “Harry Potter.” In fact, if “The Trench” has one silver lining, it’s that the writers currently on strike can use it as an example of what happens when movies refuse to hire talented writers.
The first half of the movie takes place in “The Trench,” an unexplored underwater valley crawling with prehistoric sea creatures. However, rather than focusing on what the audience came to see — the sharks — the movie decides to steer off course and spend its time developing a greenwashed plot about underwater sea mining. For a movie about giant sharks, there’s an alarming lack of sharks in this entire sequence.
Perhaps the greatest offense “The Trench” commits is dangling a shred of hope in front of the audience that the second half of the movie will get better.
While there are marginally more sharks and action later on, the sheer boredom of sitting through the first half is so extreme that even if viewers managed to not leave the theater early, they likely wouldn’t care about the movie’s ending.
Even when “The Trench” finally does pick up the action, it’s so subpar compared to the first movie that audiences still feel ripped off.
The first “Meg” took place mostly just below the surface of the water in submarines, so creatures could have some sense of scale in comparison. “The Trench” takes place either so far underwater that there’s nothing to compare the size of the animals to or on the surface, where all you can see is a fin or tentacle, similar to elements featured in cheaply made movies from the 80s.
“The Trench,” or maybe more aptly “The Stench,” is the movie equivalent of banging your head against a wall for two hours. It insults the already small fan base the first movie garnered by cutting out all the character dynamics or choreography that made the first “Meg” enjoyable.
Moviegoers’ time would be better spent rewatching the first “Meg” or “Jaws” or closing their eyes and picking a different movie at random. Overall, “Meg 2: The Trench” is a failure of prehistoric proportions.