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Jaws: The Revenge
1987 - PG-13 - 89 Mins.
Director: Joseph Sargent
Starring: Lorraine Gary, Mario Van Peebles, Lance Guest, Michael Caine, Judith Barsi
Review by: John Ulmer
There is no explanation for "Jaws: The Revenge." It is just there. You either accept it as it is, or come to love it. I prefer to deny its entire existence, if that is at all possible.

If the people who made the film had half the smarts they should have had, not only would they have ended this series three sequels ago, but they would have at least come up with something exciting, much less original, as potential material for this film. I can accept one lousy sequel. I can live with a second. But when a third sequel comes around and it keeps getting lousier every minute in, I have no choice but to fume smoke out my ears and write a review with a grimace on my face.

It's been an odd number of years since the original "Jaws." Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), now widowed and living in Martha's Vineyard, a.k.a. the seaside town Amity, has basically forgotten about the shark that she had nothing to do with. Other than the odd occasion when she gets flashbacks of events that she never witnessed, and in most cases no one ever witnessed, she's just dandy.

One night on Christmas, her son, seen as a teenager in "Jaws 2," gets eaten by a shark off the shore of Amity. Ellen remembers the shark, and is convinced that "this time it's personal." So she catches a ride to the Bahamas, to live near her other son, and plead with him to quit his job as a -- whaddaya know -- marine biologist. He assures her that no Great White Sharks have ever been spotted off the Bahamas...but before you can say "duh-duh-duh-duh," a revenge-filled Great White Shark arrives at the Bahamas (in three days, mind you) and proceeds to try and eat Mrs. Brody. I wish it had, so we wouldn't have to sit through the rest of the film.

All her friends ignore her pleas for help. Just as is the case with most horror sequels, they pooh-pooh her away until something really awful happens, and then ask her why she never told them about what was going to happen. But Ellen doesn't wait for that to happen, which is at least one thing about this film that breaks away from the horror-sequel mold.

Ellen Brody instead rushes into the water to sacrifice herself to the shark, in a last-ditch effort to stop the killing. When she does so, her new boyfriend, Hoagie (Michael Caine) rushes to her crash-landing his airplane at sea, being attacked by the shark, and swimming to the boat, climbing in without any wet clothes, and doing absolutely nothing to help her other than scream a lot and look worried. Hoagie's black friend, Jake (Mario Van Peebles), who was no doubt forced to help Hoagie help his girl by Hoagie himself, helps out just long enough to get eaten by the shark. (But, seeing how this is a "believe it or not!" kind of sequel, he comes to the surface five minutes later looking just fine, even though he was just carried underwater by a savage beast moments earlier.) And if you fast-forward the next scene, in which they attempt to defeat the shark, you'll see just how humorous the image of a Great White Shark standing on its fin can be.

I go to the beach every year, and that, for me, is part of the fun of the "Jaws" series. I've always been squeamish when I think of sharks. The ocean(s) is/are like another universe, occupied by strange creatures, most of which we know nothing about. And sharks are the rulers of this underwater world. "Jaws" played right to that idea, showing us all just how powerful and scary these creatures can be. But they also used the idea that these beasts of the depths are mortal. "Jaws: The Return" plays with the continuing trend that the shark is now invincible; the creature is no longer something the audience can relate to, but is an invincible monster. "Jaws" used to be more than just another invincible-monster-movie. "Jaws: The Return" ruins this and ends the series on a low-note, ruining the suspense of the first film. I really hope Steven Spielberg returns some day to end this series on a high-note. Besides, it can't get any more screwed up than it already is.

But the film's non-existent suspense is not the only problem. "Jaws: The Revenge" isn't good at all. It isn't even fun to watch. It's so awful that it's not humorous the least bit. I've seen my fair share of bad sequels coming off of good movies, but "Jaws: The Revenge" takes the cake as one of the worst.

The only remotely funny thing I found about this movie is that the shark, Jaws (or is it Jaws no. 4?) eats people. And Michael Caine's name is Hoagie. You put it together.
Movie Guru Rating
Unwatchable.  One of the worst of the year.  Skip it.
  0.5 out of 5 stars

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