Movie Name: Jaws: The Revenge
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date(s): July 17, 1987
MPAA Rating: PG-13
It is Christmastime, and Sean Brody (Mitchell Anderson) has been called to clear garbage from the harbor. When he is killed by a great white shark, his mother Ellen (Lorraine Gary) thinks that her family is cursed. Deciding to spend time with her other son Michael (Lance Guest), his wife Carla (Karen Young), and her granddaughter Thea (Judith Barsi) in the Caribbean, Ellen has a suspicion that their family is cursed and the shark is seeking revenge. Ellen begin seeing a pilot named Hoagie (Michael Caine), but when the shark comes to the Caribbean, Ellen decides she has to end the cycle once and for all.
Directed by Joseph Sargent, Jaws: The Revenge (also sometimes called Jaws 4: The Revenge), went down as one of the worse films ever. It was nominated for multiple Razzies, and Michael Caine allegedly missed picking up his Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters while shooting reshoots for the film. Tragedy is also tied to the film…soon after the movie was made, Judith Barsi (the daughter Thea) was killed by her father.
Jaws: The Revenge is ridiculous on multiple levels. First the idea that a shark is seeking revenge (the basic concept of the movie) is stupid. It also manages to go all the way from New England to the Caribbean in a couple of days to eat the family which it somehow can track…it is a super-fish!
The super-fish however appears to be the worst of all the Jaws sharks. The seams can frequently be seen, it moves slow and clunky, and has the ability to roar (you know those roaring sharks right?) One of the better images of the Jaws series was the fin cutting through the water and above shots of the shark. The movie featured barely any of it nor much of the classic John Williams music. The shark despite its slow movement, it can manipulate a sunken ship to try to eat Lance Guest…Guess that the shark didn’t know he was the last Starfighter.
The cast really had to question what was going on. The movie was so poorly planned. A sub-plot of Michael Caine trafficking drugs is alluded to but deleted. Lorraine Gary called it quits after this movie, and most of the actors in the movie were much better than this. The sway of a big budget sequel must have called them in. They should have checked out Jaws 3-D before agreeing to it however (which in the Jaws canon never happened according to this film).
The ending of the movie also suffered a setback. Originally the shark was impaled on the boat and died that way. The test audience hated it, so you see the shark get rammed, it randomly explodes, and somehow Mario Van Peebles character survives being eaten. It almost feels like a dream ending since it is so realistic. At least the Jaws video game for the NES made more sense.
Jaws: The Revenge is definitely so-bad-it-is-good. The movie can’t be looked at any other way. It is embarrassing bad, and after Jaws 3-D, I can’t see why another film would be greenlit or how it could be worse…Jaws: The Revenge succeeds in defying the odds.
Jaws 2 (1978)
Jaws 3-D (1983)