By John Mulderig
Seafood goes bad, very bad, very quickly. So, too, does the dead fish-scented sequel Meg 2: The Trench (Warner Bros.).
Unintended comedy paces the boredom-inducing banality of this follow-up to a 2018 feature about the accidental unleashing of an outsized prehistoric shark. Jason Statham returns as Jonas Taylor, the deep-sea diver of the original who now busies himself as a palooka of an environmental warrior.
When not rumbling with polluters, Jonas – under the patronage of some kind of marine biology institute – continues exploring the area of the ocean from which the predator emerged last time. (Perhaps Jonas has taken one punch to the head too many from the sea sulliers because he fails to recognise what a colossally bad idea this is on the face of it.)
Unbeknownst to Jonas and his colleagues, some ludicrously wicked villains (mainly Sergio Peris-Mencheta as a henchman named Montes) are out to make a bundle by secretly mining minerals in these particular depths. Predictably, their reckless actions end up allowing multiple Megalodon as well as other fearsome sea creatures to get a bite at present-day humans.
Adapted from a 1999 novel by Steve Alten, director Ben Wheatley’s groaner might serve as a workshop on how not to make a movie. It suffers from bad dialogue, uninteresting characters – in a bid for cuteness, Sophia Cai reprises her role as preteen Meiying, now Jonas’ orphaned ward – and a preposterous plot.
Lost amid the inept proceedings are examples of altruistic risk-taking. But these fleeting acts of selflessness – as well as the relative restraint shown in depicting gnawed bodies and the like – are more than offset by the delight in which the audience is invited to revel each time an insatiable critter catches up with one of the bad guys.
The film contains considerable, sometimes harsh, physical violence, glimpses of gore, a couple of mild oaths as well as occasional crude and crass talk.
The OSV News classification is A-III – adults.
The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.