Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

The wife of Martin Brody (Lorraine Gary) believes a shark is stalking her family and wants revenge for what had happened in the past.

Director: Joseph Sargent

Cast: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Marion Van Peebles, Karen Young, Judith Barsi, Michael Caine

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for creature violence and language

Run Time: 1h 32mins

Fun Fact: This has been said that this is one of Michael Caine’s infamous line of “paycheck movies”. He was paid $1.5 million for seven days of work and missed out on the Oscar ceremony where he won a Best Supporting Actor award.

“Is that Michael Caine in a dud?”

That was the question my dad had while watching this film. He may have answered that on his own a couple of minutes later. You might be wondering that this is some random review and why would I pick this to go over. Well, the story to that is in 2020 I was working on the Jaws franchise and had the first three films done. I never got to this one and decided that now would be a good time to finish off this franchise review. Luckily the film was on a streaming channel for free, so no money had to be spent.

This film is a total cash grab, and it shows. Cheap, condensed filming time, recycled moments that have been beaten to death, and a story that I will get to in a moment. The CEO of Universal Pictures at the time, Stanley Sheinberg saw the box office receipts on Jaws 3. If you read my review on it, I thought it was horrible and one of the worst sequels ever made. While critics at the time were negative towards Jaws 3, it made a good amount of money and Sheinberg had a new Jaws ride at the theme park to promote. So, it looked like the plan was to rush this out as soon as possible because filming only took around nine months to film. Hey also a working vacation to the Bahamas was in plan. Lorraine Gary, who was in the first two films was signed on to the project to be the lead star even though she just had bit parts in those previous mentioned films. Oh, and she was married to Sheinberg, how convenient.

To put it short Jaws: The Revenge is a disaster and it out does everything Jaws 3 did to making the franchise worse. The Jaws franchise is one of those shining examples of how a franchise just gets worse as time goes on. We are handed a horribly written story about a shark that wants revenge on the Brody family, the series protagonists. So how does this shark know who the Brody family is and where they live? Is this shark the brother of the previous ones that died? Besides the actual revenge plot goes horribly wrong for the shark as it is all over the place. With that you would think that series star Roy Scheider would return if this shark wants revenge, but Scheider turned it down which was probably the best move he could do at the time. So, Martin Brody is lazily written out with the dumbest reason to why he’s not there. It makes zero sense after you hear it and think about it.

This leads to the wife of Martin Brody played by Lorraine Gary have this strange psychic ability with the shark. She believes that the shark is out for revenge on her family and has constant nightmares about moments with the shark. The thing is in the previous films Ellen wasn’t involved with those climaxes. It was Martin that did that, so Ellen has never seen the shark. After another incident involving her family, she doesn’t want anyone going into the water so what does one of her son’s do? Takes her to the Bahamas which is surrounded by water. Every time she goes into the water, she goes into this weird psychic trance feeling the presence of the shark. What is her big plan to get rid of the shark? She doesn’t even know herself.

IT MAKES ZERO SENSE.

As for the structure of the film we get a slow and boring film for the most part. Our opening scene is the same thing we saw in the previous three films. Same music, same pace, same everything you have seen. We get a nighttime shark attack again bringing that recycled moment into the franchise again. I can give the second film a pass with those recycled moments for a quick reminder, but by the fourth film I would expect a different creative approach. Is there anything original in this film? Why yes, the thrilling moments of a research boat studying underwater snails and Lorraine Gary and Michael Caine going on dates and all that jazz. I will give Jaws 3 credit with it being set in a different area with the Sea World concept and not in the open ocean once again. The climax though is one of the craziest I have ever seen in a film. You have to see it to believe it because me writing about it wouldn’t do it justice and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I will say that if you look and listen closely to certain parts you are going to laugh. I will admit I had a great time watching it because of how over the top and crazy it is.

Overall, Jaws: The Revenge is one of the worst films I have ever seen. Do you want to know how bad it is? It currently has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a recycled boring film that doesn’t really have anything really going on with it. The story is all over the place and you can tell this was just a quick attempt to make some cash and have the CEO’s wife in her own starring film. The thing is this film didn’t perform up to its expectations. At that point people were tired of the same thing and another film hasn’t been made. It’s best to sometimes leave something that started off as perfect alone and not ruin it with meaningless sequels that have nothing new or fresh to them.

Verdict: Miss

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