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  Jaws The Revenge A Shark Worse Than Its Bite
Year: 1987
Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles, Michael Caine, Karen Young, Judith Barsi, Lynn Whitfield, Mitchell Andreson, Melvin Van Peebles
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 3 votes)
Review: It's Christmas time, and Ellen (Lorraine Gary), the widow of Chief Brody, lives with one of her sons, Sean, in Amity. Her other son, Michael (Lance Guest), lives in the Bahamas where he works as a marine biologist, and Sean works with the police. That night, Sean is called out to untangle debris from a buoy, but as he sails out alone by the shore, he doesn't suspect what might be waiting for him - a huge, Great White Shark, which tears his arm off as he reaches for the debris, then sinks his boat and kills him. Ellen is distraught, and when Michael returns to Amity for the funeral, she confides in him that she believes the shark has a purpose - revenge on the Brody family.

So how many times can you make a sequel with the same plot as the one before? Scripted by Michael De Guzman, Jaws The Revenge was an effort to put a fresh spin on the story after Jaws 3-D, but there's no three dimensional gimmick to wow the audience this time, no, what we have here is a "this time it's personal" take on the original (the previous sequel has been forgotten about). Apparently nobody stopped to think, wait a minute, this is ridiculous, but it means the result is one of the most idiotic horror films of its type, although at least the shark doesn't fly.

Despite Ellen working out that getting too close to the sea is a bad idea with a grudge-bearing shark (supposedly a relative of the others in the series) around, she agrees to go back with Michael to the Bahamas for a break. Reasoning that the shark wouldn't follow her hundreds of miles, she nevertheless finds her spider senses tingling when she arrives and gazes out onto the ocean. Ellen has a kind of psychic link with the shark, and it's no surprise when the killer fish loiters outside the house in his car at night, and starts making threatening phone calls at two o'clock in the morning.

OK, not quite, but he does patrol the local waters, biding his time until his chance to eat some Brodies. Ellen is reminded of sharky things when she sees her little granddaughter swinging out on a rope over the sea, or her artist daughter-in-law's new sculpture which has a sharky look to it. Then, of course, there's the nightmares of being eaten which she awakes from sitting bolt upright in bed and bathed in a cold sweat. When Michael has an encounter with the aquatic villian, he starts having the same dreams. Something must be done.

But not before we're subjected to tedious relationship scenes to work up sympathy for the characters. Michael and his wife feel the strain of having a sharky stalker, but Ellen enjoys a budding romance with Sir Michael Caine, here playing Hoagie, an overbearing pilot (see him dance at a carnival for real cringe material). All the while you're willing someone else to get eaten, but as the shark is restricted to Brodies, and we can't see any more get killed because they're the heroes, he disappointingly only ends up eating two victims, and one of them is an innocent bystander.

Inspiration running out, the film can't have the characters stay out of the water like sensible people, so we are subjected to foolish scenes of Michael being chased through the corridors of a shipwreck by Jaws IV, or his fellow marine biologist Jake (Mario Van Peebles) using himself as bait to attach a tracking device to the fish. Eventually, Ellen can take no more, and steals a boat to sail out and confront the bane of her life (she believes Chief Brody's fatal heart attack was brought on by fear of sharks). What exactly she was going to do when she met it ("Come and get me, you son of a bitch!") is unclear, but there's a confusing showdown which wraps up the series in general embarassment and a few unintentional laughs (listen for the roaring). They should have quit while they were ahead. Music by Michael Small.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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