Jaws: The Revenge
“Jaws the Revenge” is not simply a bad movie, but also a stupid and incompetent one - a ripoff. And that’s a surprise, because the film is the fourth in a series that has served Universal Pictures long and well, and it stars Lorraine Gary, the wife of the studio’s chief executive officer. Wasn’t there someone in charge of assuring that the film was at least a passable thriller, however bad? I guess not.”
I can see his point to a fault. The film is pretty damn bad. It isn’t “laughably bad” either. It is the type of film that comes from a ton of very poor decisions. I know that bad films come from these same decisions, but Jaws: The Revenge comes from some of the dumbest decisions I have seen in quite a while.
Take for example the plot. The film starts with Sean Brody as the chief of police, the position his father held in the first two films. Brody is out cleaning a buoy when he is killed by a shark. This scene is pretty well done and sets a tone for the film that isn’t matched for what follows. It isn’t the death of Sean that is the problem. It is the fact that his mother Ellen thinks that the shark is out for revenge because the elder Brody killed a family member of this film’s shark family. That is where the “Revenge” part of the title comes from. Anyone in their right mind would have a hard time wrapping their head around this revelation, but the film expects us to take it at face value.
Ok, so we take the “Revenge” thing at face value. So what does the Ellen Brody, who just told us that she is convinced that the shark in this film is out for revenge, do? Does she do the sensible thing and move inland? Does she move to any part of the U.S. where sharks can’t get to her? Nope. She goes down to the Bahamas, where her other son Mike, is working on studying snails. The Bahamas, where there is so much water, there is an ocean of it. She moves to a water invested area and expects an animal who is out for revenge to NOT find her there.
Ok. So Ellen meets a man by the name of Hoagie, played by My Cocaine himself and is never once SEEN with a hoagie, and the two hit it off. Ellen and Hoagie share a good chemistry and the two actors are at ease with each other. The actors make their scenes together. Ellen is happy again until her granddaughter is on a banana that is attacked by the shark of the film. It is one of those bouncy bananas that the kids like to ride. Ellen loses her shit and takes a boat to go after the shark, I guess. Either that or she is going to sacrifice herself to the shark in order to protect her family. I hope that it is the later thing.
So we have come to the end of the film and we have had only two deaths the entire film: Sean Brody at the beginning and some nobody who was also on the banana that was attacked. That is two fairly bloodless attacks in the span of about 80 mins. There is something about a device that Mario Van Peebles (yeah he is in the film and has a terrible accent to boot, but he doesn’t do very much and could have been taken out of the film and no one would have noticed. I like Van Peebles and everything, but he is not needed at all.) put into the shark that, when something is done to a flashlight (I didn’t understand what they were doing.) the shark will get hurt inside and surface while growling like a cartoon dinosaur. This gives the Brody family a chance to ram the shark with the front of the boat that conveniently has a sharp, stabby front to it. They do this and then the shark blows up.
Yes, I said that correctly. The shark blows up FOR NO REASON. This blowing up thing was done as a reshoot after the film was already in release. I guess that the studio thought that other countries wouldn’t take a film from the U.S. seriously without the villain blowing up. No one knows why the shark blew up, it just did.
You know as I write this, I am finding myself at a loss for words. I didn’t hate the film. It has nice cinematography and the acting isn’t terrible, but the shark blew up at the end for no reason. When I reviewed Jaws 3, I talked about how the shark blew up for no reason. Someone pointed out that Dennis Quaid throws grenades into the shark’s mouth, causing it to explode. That makes sense because it is set up earlier. I take back my statement in that review that the shark blows up for no reason. I will not take it back here though. The shark is stabbed and the next shot is the shark blowing up. That is it.
Like I said, I didn’t hate the film nearly as much as Roger Ebert did. It is a bad film, there is no denying that, but I thought there were things that worked. If the filmmakers had put some thought into the film, then maybe it would have been better. The film still sucks, just not that much.
Jimmy P is an avid film lover and collector. He has been collecting since the mid-90's and has amassed a collection in the thousands. He collects VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray. Jimmy P lives with his wife in Parts Unknown.