Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on July 17, 1987
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Written by Michael de Guzman
Cast: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Michael Caine, Mario Van Peebles, Karen Young, Judith Barsi, Mitchell Anderson, Lynn Whitfield, Cedric Scott, Charles Bowleg, Lee Fierro, Fritzi Jane Courtney, Cyprian R. Dube
Just so we’re clear on this: I didn’t want to see Jaws: The Revenge when it was first released, I’ve never had a desire to watch it at any time since its release, and I never, ever wanted it sitting on my shelf at home, in any format. But duty eventually called, and when I decided to have a fourth and final Jaws Month here at the Monolith, I figured it was necessary for me to write a review for the fourth and final film in the Jaws franchise as well.
Lorraine Gary returns to the series as Ellen Brody, now the widow of Amity chief of police Martin Brody and still living on Amity Island, along with her grown son Sean. When Sean is killed by a great white shark, she flies to the Bahamas following the funeral to be with her oldest son, Mike, and soon discovers the same great white has followed her there, apparently intent on killing her and anyone connected to the Brody family. After several close calls with the shark, Ellen takes a sailboat to sea in an attempt to kill the beast herself, and save what’s left of her family.
Soooo, let me get this straight: the shark in Jaws was destroyed, the shark in Jaws 2 was electrocuted, and the sharks in Jaws 3-D were killed in ways I’ve already forgotten…but this time around, one of them wants revenge? They’re all dead! Is it the ghost of a shark, or a pissed-off friend or relative of a shark? Since none of the sharks were literally named ‘Jaws’, maybe the title isn’t exactly referencing its revenge. Maybe it’s the chief’s wife looking for vengeance, or the movie itself looking for vengeance against Jaws 3-D, which supposedly does not exist in this particular Jaws universe.
Well, at least we have an answer as to why I never bothered with this one: it’s bad. Really, really bad. In fact, it’s messed up in so many ways—both big and small—that it would take me three full reviews just to discuss it all. There were no signs of quality, enthusiasm, or creativity anywhere: the story was so far-fetched it was laughable, the editing was choppy and rendered shots incomprehensible, the shark looked like it was made of gray styrofoam, and worst of all, the story referenced so many moments from the original Jaws—and used actual shots and scenes from the original Jaws—that I’m surprised somebody didn’t sue somebody for plagiarism.
But enough of my griping; what did I like about it? Not much, I’m afraid. I enjoyed Lance Guest as Mike (I liked him in The Last Starfighter as well), and his character was the only one worth respecting or caring about…especially since Gary spent most of the film pushing Ellen far off the deep end. Location filming in the Bahamas made for some pleasant backdrops, and as ridiculous as it was to have a Jaws movie set during Christmas, I did like the small-town atmosphere of Amity at night, all warm and festive for the holidays. And special thanks should go to Michael Caine, for bringing some I-don’t-give-a-shit levity to the role of Hoagie, the pilot. Otherwise, that was it.
I was tempted to award this thing a 2-star rating, but I remembered I’d given Jaws 3-D two stars, and Jaws: The Revenge is no Jaws 3-D (especially with no Lea Thompson in sight), so it gets saddled with a 1/10, as well as seven Golden Raspberry nominations. But how about an honorary half-star for Caine, who to me delivered the greatest post-filming quote of all time, and summarized the end result perfectly: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” (1/10)