Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

29 May


Smith’s Verdict: Zero Stars

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

“Jaws: The Revenge” is one of the worst sequels of all time, if not the absolute worst. When you think of this film’s original predecessor, 1975’s hit “Jaws,” and how good it is, it only makes it look bad when associated with its trashy sequels. “Jaws 2” was unnecessary, but at least it had its moments. “Jaws 3D” was even more unnecessary, and tried to plug Sea World while showing the 3D gimmick of the ‘80s. With the third sequel, “Jaws: The Revenge,” at least you know it can’t get any worse.

This movie is bad. Really bad. At times, it’s laughably so. Other times, it’s just painfully so, which screws it up for the former “times.”

Where do I begin with this movie? Well, how about the fact that Roy Scheider didn’t reprise his role of heroic Police Chief Brody, and the screenwriters decided to cover his absence by saying he died between sequels? How did he die? According to Brody’s wife, Ellen (Lorraine Gary) who is now the focus of this “Jaws” movie, “the fear of the shark killed him.” Yes, they try to make you believe that the man who fought a shark twice in two movies died of “fear.” Give me a break.

There are absolutely no characters of interest in Scheider’s place. Ellen is a blank slate—always worrying and complaining, and nearly psychotic in how she believes that sharks hold grudges. Oh, but it’s OK, because apparently she’s right, as a great white killer shark follows her and her family from New England to the Bahamas. Get this—because of the other sharks’ encounters with Ellen’s family (her husband in the first two movies; her son in the third movie), she believes that all sharks swear vengeance against the Brody family. Now, early in the movie, Ellen’s youngest son has been killed by the shark, back on that stupid island which is the absolute worst place for Ellen to be, after all the madness that occurred before (move to Iowa, lady). Now, she and her family—including her other son, Michael (Lance Guest)—go on vacation in the Bahamas. And wouldn’t you know it—the shark followed them there.

I mentioned there are no characters of interest in this movie. Michael’s a basic bore, and his buddy Jake (Mario Van Peeples), with whom he works marine biology field study, isn’t given enough to do to be interesting. There are also many scenes involving a developing romance between Ellen and a British pilot (Michael Caine, who seems to be phoning it in) that makes “Jaws: The Revenge” look like the b-movie version of “Terms of Endearment.” It’s very boring.

And what about the shark effects? They’re easily the worst aspect of the movie. You see a lot of the shark in this movie, and it looks dreadfully fake. How can I properly describe how terrible the shark looks in this movie? It’s never menacing; it’s never threatening; it looks unbelievably unrealistic. One of those “laughable” moments of the movie is a ridiculous attack on a banana boat on a beach.

Everything leads to a confrontation between the shark and Ellen, the pilot, Michael, and Jake as they attempt to kill this thing once and for all. It’s very dull and impressively bad. I don’t just mean that glaring error that shows Michael Caine swimming to safety on a boat, coming over the rail and suddenly he’s completely dry. Get this—the shark appears to stand on its tail fin on top of the water so that it can nab one of the group. And it’s in slow-motion, so it looks even worse.

Oh, and get this—the shark actually ROARS! I’m not even kidding; there’s a roaring sound effect when the shark opens its mouth. What in the world were these filmmakers missing? And what follows is a resolution so clumsily-handled that it’s hard to make something out of it. “Jaws: The Revenge” is so badly-made that I don’t think anything can save it.

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