OK, who out there can name all four entries in the “Jaws” franchise? Note: The third one was cleverly titled “Jaws 3-D.” Who can name any other shark movies from, let’s say, just the past decade? Without looking at IMDB.com, I’ll go for “The Shallows,” “47 Meters Down,” and all of those “Sharknado” events. (A friend told me there’s also a 2012 straight to DVD release of something called “Jurassic Shark.”)

There are lots of shark movies, too many of them if you peruse shark movie history. And “The Meg” is one that the oeuvre can easily have done without. It’s a slapdash fishbowl of tiredly acted tired clichés, below par visual effects, and predictable plot points. Amidst the not so terrifying terror of a big fish attempting to dine on an absolute pupu platter of people from various ethnic backgrounds, there are some attempts at humor in the script (This script took three writers to concoct?), but the laughs heard at the screening I attended were mostly of the derisive sort.

So, with a warning that there may be A FEW SPOILERS here, let’s dive in.

There’s Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham, who will take off his shirt and strut around later on), running a deep sea rescue mission to save a submarine crew that’s been bashed around way below the waves. Jonas and his rescue crew get down there, but then they all get bashed around.

DIALOGUE: “There’s something outside the ship!”

Things go wrong; tragedy ensues.

Five years later, we arrive, along with a braggart of a billionaire investor (Rainn Wilson) at a research station 200 miles off the coast of China, where scientists are searching for a mythical spot that’s deeper than the Mariana Trench. Three of them head out in a submersible craft, find a strange underwater cloud, go beneath it, and discover an unknown eco system (that’s, of course, deeper than the Mariana Trench). Then they get bashed around.

DIALOGUE: “There’s something down here!”

Six miles above, on the research station, scientists are monitoring the bashees, and know that they’re still alive.

DIALOGUE: “Prep the helicopter. We must go to Thailand!”

Thailand is where Jonas has gone to retire and drink beer. Of course, he’s the only person who can do such a risky deep sea rescue mission, but he’d rather keep drinking beer.

DIALOGUE: “I don’t dive anymore.”

DIALOGUE: “Your ex-wife and her crew are trapped six miles down and are running out of air.”

Other folks at the research station include head researcher Dr. Zhang (Winston Chao), his shark expert daughter Suyin (Bingbing Li), and her cute and precocious 8-year-old daughter Meiying (Sophia Cai).

Brave Suyin can’t wait for Jonas, so goes for the rescue with two others in a small sub. But they get bashed around.

DIALOGUE: “There is something down here!”

And so it’s time to meet the big shark, described as being 25 meters long (one meter is 3.28 feet; do the math). Of course, Jonas arrives, and manages to rescue two of the three. Yup, another tragedy. This Jonas is a real Jonah.

But don’t get sidetracked. That wasn’t just a shark, it was a megalodon (or a meg), the largest shark that ever existed, thought to be extinct for 2 million years (or some such blather).

DIALOGUE: “That living fossil ate my friend!”

DIALOGUE: “Are you saying we opened up a superhighway for prehistoric sharks?”

DIALOGUE: “I can’t swim!”

Bring on the polycarbon shark cage and the super-duper poison spears and the fact that nobody racing to the surface from far below ever gets the bends in this movie.

DIALOGUE: “Can I just point out that this thing is sinking?”

It’s time for a change of scenery. Let’s head over to Sanya Bay in China, which is said to have some of the most densely populated beaches in the world. It’s also, due to a plethora of fashionable beachwear, one of the most colorful places, and it all goes nicely with blood red.

DIALOGUE: “Everyone out of the water!”

DIALOGUE: “Chew on this, you ugly bastard!”

DIALOGUE: “Here’s to being alive!”

Note: I didn’t stay for the end credits, so have no idea if there was a set-up for a sequel. I sure hope not.

— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at esymkus@rcn.com.

“The Meg”
Written by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber; directed by Jon Turtletaub
With Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
Rated PG-13