- Movie Rating -

Jaws the Revenge (1987)

| July 17, 1987

Well, this might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.

One very strange thing that you learn from reviewing movies is that there are gradations of bad movies.  Some are mediocre and forgettable (The Squeeze).  Some are ragingly disappointing (Beverly Hills Cop II).  And then there are the special ones, those whose seams are so visible that you start questioning how and why a room full of professional filmmakers thought it was suitable for distribution.

Jaws the Revenge is like that.  It is not just bad, it’s bad at the very concept level.  Even the title is a head-scratcher.  Do sharks seek revenge?  Do they have the capacity to think like that?  I might throw it off as just being a silly title of that didn’t seem to be the plot of this movie.  Yes, Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) loses a son in a shark attack and is convinced that this shark is deliberately targeting her family for termination.  I couldn’t believe it either.  It begs the question of where this shark came from.  Since the other three sharks have been blown to bits, who is this?  Do sharks have cousins?  Brothers?  Nephews?

The movie opens at Martha’s Vineyard at Christmas time as Sean Brody goes out to clear a dock pile and his attacked and killed by the shark.  Meanwhile the Christmas carols from the shore drown out his screams.  Ellen quickly moves down to the Bahamas where her remaining son Michael (Lance Guest) is working as a marine biologist.  He assures his mother that there has never been a shark in these waters; but soon enough, the shark reappears, having made the 1200-mile trip from Massachusetts to The Bahamas.  And yes, she’s convinced that the shark has it in for the Brody family.

Bull Pucky, you say?  Well, that’s pretty much what I thought.

The movie spends a frustrating amount of time padding the non-shark scenes with what I guess is suppose to be human interest.  Chief Brody died years before and Ellen is a widow, so she begins a tepid romance with a helicopter pilot played by Michael Caine.  Caine is a wonderful actor but I wonder what he’s doing here.  He is capable of so much more.  See him right now in The Whistle Blower or see him in Hannah and her Sisters, a movie that brought him the Oscar that he was not present to receive because he was filming this movie.

I would love to see a documentary about the making of this film.  I wonder about the executives at Universal Pictures – a company for whom the Jaws movies have served them very well – who looked at the finished product and deemed this to be something that was suitable for distribution.  Did they miss the repeated gaps in logic?  Weren’t they dismayed that the shark looks like it was made from plastic and vinyl?  Did anyone notice that Michael Caine comes out of the water wearing a dry shirt?  You would think someone would be in charge of that.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Horror