Up From the Depths With a Vengeance (Jaws: The Revenge, 1987)

Jaws_the_Revenge_PosterApparently, the one thing that could kill the shark was this film.  Opening up shortly before Christmas, we find Sean Brody is now working for the Amity police.  He lives with his mother (a returning Lorraine Gary).  He is called out to take care of a log floating in the bay.  As he tries to get the log, a large great white shark attacks Sean.

Mike comes home to be with his grieving mother and invite her to return with him to his Bahaman home where he is studying snails.  She gives in, though starts expressing a belief that the shark has returned to take out the family.  And sure enough, once in the Bahamas, the shark appears.

Most of the film is spent with Michael and local pilot Hoagie trying to convince Ellen that it is all coincidence, but she knows better.  In the meantime, Mike and his research partner Jake are secretly studying the giant great white.

While the idea that Ellen would be obsessed with the notion that the shark is seeking revenge on her family is intriguing…it is undermined by the fact that she is right.  The shark is calculated, ignoring people who are not related to the Brody family (one death is because the shark misses a Brody) and showing itself a skilled hunter, navigating its way through a sunken ship. The dialog also seems to ignore that Chief Brody killed the previous to sharks, with Ellen and Mike talking as if this new shark is the same shark from earlier films.

The film gets even more improbable.  It pretty much eats a plane (of course the shark downed a  helicopter in the second film).  The shark pops out of the water and roars.  Like a dinosaur.

Jaws: the Revenge completely ignores Jaws 3-D, and tries very hard to ties itself to the first film.  There are several duo-toned clips from the original, meant to draw parallels.  Except, they are presented in a way that implies they are memories of Ellen’s. But she is recalling things she never witnessed.  Martin killing the shark, Sean being killed by the shark…and so on and so on.

Really, all those call backs just bring more attention to how anemic this film is.  Even Michael Caine couldn’t save it.

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