I liked “The Meg” enough to consider it a fun bit of James Cameron-lite entertainment, but I wasn’t exactly clamoring for a sequel. With “The Meg 2,” director Ben Wheatley leans heavily in to more unique elements allowing Jason Statham to be more physically active this time around, while also embracing the Asian influence. You just know Statham requested at least one action sequence of him fighting bad guys, hence the re-introduction of Jonas Taylor. Taylor is still a brainy scientist, but he’s also an ecological activist who skirts the law by breaking on to ships and stealing information from criminals. While “The Meg” was basically “The Abyss” meets “Deep Blue Sea,” this time around director Ben Wheatley opts more for “Jurassic World” meets “The Deep.”
Returning hero Jonas Taylor leads a 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, prehistoric sharks and relentless environmental plunderers, they must outrun, outsmart and out swim their merciless predators.
The Meg we see this time around is not the vicious Meg from the previous film, but now a more docile animal that the crew from the previous film is trying to study. She’s tame in the way that a lion in captivity is tame, but any moment she can attack. There are obvious parallels here drawn from the tame raptor and Chris Pratt’s character in “Jurassic World,” even with a scene of Wu Jing’s character testing the limits of the domesticated Meg. “Meg 2” knows exactly what kind of movie is, that why it’s so critic proof. It’s silly, and long, and droning, and measures its violence just enough to where it pushes that PG-13 rating but can be viewed safely on basic cable in a year or two.
To its credit the characters are fun with returning cast mates Statham, Page Kennedy, Cliff Curtis, and Shuya Sophia Cai, respectively. Li Bingbing’s character from “The Meg” is explained as having died over the few years prior to this movie, but her daughter Meiying (Sophia Cai) picks up the slack as the spunky teen sidekick who gets in to trouble alongside Statham and Wu Jing, who plays her scientist uncle Jiuming. “The Meg 2” isn’t a great movie, nor is it a particularly good one. But in the arena of giant monster adventure movies, you could do worse.
This release includes a Digital Copy redemption code for consumers, and a scant inclusion of features; scant being the operating word, here. “The Making of Meg 2: The Trench” is a short thirteen minutes promotional-style piece with a brief overview of the production with clips on-set, and interview segments featuring director Ben Wheatley, the producers, SFX supervisors, production designers, and the entire cast, sans Statham, obviously. Finally, “Up From the Depths: Even More Beasts” is a similar nine minutes behind-the-scenes piece featuring concept artwork, more on-set footage, and many of the same cast interviews (sans Statham, of course) shedding light on the brand-new creatures and action set-pieces created for the follow up.