You can’t out-Jaws “Jaws.”

Modern shark movies don’t bother competing with the 1975 classic (a wise move). They go the opposite route, leaning into broad comedy and broader caricatures.

The “Sharknado” franchise threw chum in those cinematic waters, attracting even more absurd shark thrillers.

“Jersey Shore Shark Attack,” anyone?

“Meg 2: The Trench” takes a sober approach to the genre at first, albeit with some of the most tin-eared dialogue in recent memory. The film gets goofier and goofier before throwing logic to the wind for an inspired, over-the-top third act.

Just try to wipe that smile off your face during the battle royale. We dare you.

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Jason Statham returns as Jonas Taylor, the rescue diver who vanquished a prehistoric shark in the 2018 original. He’s an eco-warrior now, corralling anyone dumb enough to dump toxic waste into the ocean.

Don’t worry. Greta Thunberg never shows up, nor does the screenplay lecture us a la James Cameron. This is the ultimate “switch your brain off” entertainment.

Jonas works for a company that has another “Meg,” or Megalodon, in captivity. The firm explores the mysterious layers between the ocean and the creature’s subterranean home, a realm with ties to the earth’s prehistoric past.

Except there’s a saboteur within the ranks, and that leaves Jonas and friends deep below the surface, at the mercy of more than just more Megs.

FAST FACT: The first “Meg” film scored a solid $145 million stateside in 2018 but an even heartier $385 million at the global box office. The latter was primarily thanks to China – $153 million.

Returning “Meg” players Cliff Curtis and Page Kennedy lend a hand, with Kennedy getting most of the overtly comic lines. Chinese action star Jing Wu also makes an impression as a risk-taking soul who gives new meaning to the word, “unflappable.”

The rest is up to Statham, who deserves an Oscar for keeping a straight face from start to finish. He knows precisely how to play big, dumb action movies, but he’s a credible enough presence to cement his fatherly bond with young, scrappy Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai).

The story is a series of eye-rolls, with dialogue so obvious you can predict every other line. It still won’t stop you from wincing.

“Meg 2” never takes itself seriously and uncorks some solid, CGI-born creatures stripped from the Jurassic era. (If you don’t smell the crossover potential you’re not trying hard enough).

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The film’s director, Ben Wheatley, hails from indie cinema, and he throws a few curveballs between the B-movie mayhem. For starters, he’s a whiz at directing action sequences, including a terrific fight/chase scene that opens the film.

He also coaxes some odd moments from his cast, including a tearful closeup of one of the story’s villains (a memorable Sergio Peris-Mencheta).

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The film threatens to overstay its welcome – a story this dopey should wrap in a tidy 90 minutes. Then the final battle commences, and the blend of laughter and action reaches its glorious peak. Jonas jumps on a jet ski, ready to single-handedly kill multiple Megs.

That’s only the beginning.

The battle rages. Innocents get chomped and our heroes risk everything to save friends and strangers alike.

And you’ll never want it to end.

Had “Meg 2: The Trench” assumed that frenzied approach for its entire running time we might have had a new cult classic. Instead, the sequel offers mindless eye candy until it finds its true north.

HiT or Miss: “The Meg 2: The Trench” treads water as a watchable B-movie before its blissfully corny  finale.

The post ‘Meg 2: The Trench’ Goes the Full ‘Sharknado’ first appeared on Hollywood in Toto.

The post ‘Meg 2: The Trench’ Goes the Full ‘Sharknado’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.