The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Jaws: The Revenge

We're on shark overload here so we might as well finish strong. Well, as strong as a third sequel in a progressively awful series allows. The Jaws series starts off on an epically strong film, follows with a pretty decent sequel, and then wraps up with two of the worst movies around. Putting a capper on the series, here's 1987's Jaws: The Revenge.

It's been years since her family has had to deal with shark attacks, and Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) is able to move on now. She's a widow -- Chief Brody died from a heart attack -- but living on Amity Island still. Her life is thrown up in the air when her son, a deputy on Amity, is killed by a great white shark. Ellen is convinced that it is a shark seeking revenge from her family's past involvement (read = killing) of sharks. Looking to get away some from her own demons, she travels with her oldest son, Michael (Lance Guest), and his wife and daughter to their home in the Bahamas. Everyone tries to convince her that her worries are absurd, but she can't shake the fear. Resting and relaxing though, Ellen is again shaken to the core when.....the shark shows up in the Bahamas!

Okay, let's clear this up now. This third Jaws sequel and fourth movie in the series is really bad. It currently possesses a 2.7 rating on IMDB and deservedly so. Now that said, I think it was miles ahead of Jaws 3-D, easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen on so many levels. To its credit, 'Revenge' basically pretends that 3-D never actually happened, and that's fine by me. What's bad is really bad. Whenever the shark is shown, you can actually see stitches in the shark, its bottomless mouth, the underwater crane actually transporting the shark. Still, it was filmed in the Bahamas (and that always looks nice), and the familiar Jaws theme is still cool. It's not good, but it is also isn't as God awful bad as some reviews made it out to be.

Maybe in some sort of existential sense, the premise here is pretty cool. Through three movies, the Brody family has dispatched their fair share of great white sharks. Ridiculous science assumptions aside, wouldn't it be kinda cool if a shark actually possessed the ability to grasp revenge? No? Okay, maybe it's just me. Sharks are killing and swimming machines so what if they were able to hunt someone specifically? Eh, the more I think about it the stupider it gets. The execution makes it worse. Ellen, Michael and Co. travel to the Bahamas and within three days a shark swims the entire trip down there from Amity Island. Yes, it follows them. A shark can somehow sense where they're going thousands of miles away and FOLLOWS them. Yeah, that's just not good.

Let's move onto the acting, ranging from really bad/wooden to meh to out of place. Reviews point to Gary's marriage with a studio exec as a main reason she reprises her role as Ellen Brody. It's eerily similar to the part Roy Scheider played in Jaws 2, but not as good. The part consists of her worriedly looking at the ocean with a vacant stare. Guest isn't much better, but he's a tad more animated at least (Karen Young playing his wife, they do have sex a lot, and Judith Barsi as their precocious daughter). In the bizarre 'Was he blackmailed into this movie?' casting, Michael Caine plays Hoagie, an island pilot who takes a shine to visiting Ellen. He's surprisingly good, but that's because he's Michael Caine more than anything else. Caine infamously once said "I never saw it, by all accounts it's terrible, but I have seen the house it built, and it's terrific." Also look for Mario Van Peebles as Jake, a Bahama marine researcher working with Michael, a truly cliched, stereotypical part that grates at all times.

A bomb in reviews and at the box office, the studio made an even stupider decision, inserting a new ending into the finale. SPOILERS STOP READING SPOILERS You can watch the original theatrical ending HERE, lousy but classic cinema compared to what the new ending is. The new finale actually has a shark jump clear out of the water, roar (because sharks can apparently roar), gets harpooned by the boat and spontaneously explodes. Footage from the original Jaws is even inserted (nice touch, huh?). One character is brutally bitten/attacked by the shark but manages to somehow survive. Yes, it's ridiculous. It certainly closes the series on a high note. Try as I might though, I can't give it as bad a rating as Jaws 3-D. I just can't. It's awful, but not on that level.

Jaws: The Revenge (1987): * 1/2 /****


  1. i hated this one worse than 3. 3 i can bag on, this was just horrid. i wonder, did you see the version where mario van peebles lives or dies?

  2. I've seen both endings. Hard to say which is dumber or less satisfying, really.

  3. I saw Mario make it which threw me off b/c I saw the other ending years ago. Going into this viewing, I had NO idea there was an alternate ending.

    And totally fair to James and Chris. Both are horrific movies, but I like Caine enough to give it a slightly higher review. I WON'T be defending either movie to be fair!