After her husband Martin Brody died from a heart attack, possibly brought on by a fear of sharks, Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) has moved in with her youngest son Sean (Mitchell Anderson), the police deputy of Amity Island. While out clearing a log from a buoy one night, Sean is attacked and killed by a great white shark.
Devastated by the loss of her husband and now youngest son, Ellen travels to the Bahamas to spend some time with her oldest son, marine biologist Michael (Lance Guest), and his family. Though her time there appears to be going well, the same shark who killed Sean has followed Ellen, convincing her that this shark is out to get her family for revenge.
“I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” – Michael Caine referring to Jaws: The Revenge.
“First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don’t come, I choose the ones that pay the rent.” – Michael Caine on what I’m assuming is the only reason he’d show up in this.
In 1975, the world was treated to Steven Spielberg’s classic Jaws, a critical and financial mega-hit that put Spielberg’s name on the map. Little did we know that when Chief Brody blew up the shark at the end of the movie, he unwittingly caused it to explode into a bunch of crap-tacular sequels. First came Jaws 2, which was then followed by Jaws 3-D. While neither film were flops at the box office, they couldn’t achieve the critical acclaim that the first film achieved for reasons clear as day. As bad as those films were, though, Universal saved the very worst they could do for the fourth and final film of the franchise, Jaws: The Revenge.
If the Brodys can’t kill the shark the first, second or third time, I guarantee you a 0% critic and 15% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes will get the job done on the fourth try.
Jaws: The Revenge is not a so bad it’s good film; it’s a so bad it’s stupid film. To actually buy into anything that you see onscreen here takes a suspension of disbelief larger than the entire cosmos. Surely, director Joseph Sargent (who directed the entertaining original version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) and writer Michael de Guzman couldn’t have taken any of this material seriously. It’s just not possible ’cause the things that occur in this movie are so astronomically stupid, even a two year old toddler would be calling out this film’s bull shit.
Roy Scheider wanted nothing to do with this film after being approached to reprise his role as Martin Brody. I can’t imagine why. So how does Michael de Guzman take care of this dilemma? He kills off Brody’s character by way of a fear of sharks-induced heart attack, and puts the heroic weight of the film on Mrs. Ellen Brody and her son Michael. Of course, for being heroes when the situation calls for it, they’re gonna bitch and moan at each other for about 80% of the film over how his marine biology job frightens her and how he doesn’t like Hoagie getting all handsy with her.
You’ll be rooting for the shark in no time.
So with all three iconic characters from the first film long gone and the law of diminishing returns going full speed ahead, this is what we get when Universal decides to scrape the very bottom of the barrel.
1) Sharks take things very personally. So much they will actively target specific people for revenge.
2) Yes, a shark that was blown up in Jaws, electrocuted in Jaws 2, and blown up once again in Jaws 3-D.
3) Wait. My bad. Jaws: The Revenge ignores Jaws 3-D ’cause I guess it thinks it’s better than that film.
4) The shark sets up a trap for Sean Brody and kills him (originally meant for Scheider’s Chief Brody). So sharks are not only capable of setting up cunning death traps, they’re capable of setting up cunning death traps with one particular person in mind.
5) Apparently, sharks are way smarter than we give ‘em credit for.
6) Ellen Brody’s able to have flashbacks to moments she never once was present for.
7) Hey, remember that moment in Jaws 2 when Chief Brody asks a marine biologist if the shark he killed in the first movie could’ve communicated something to the other sharks before it died, and she tells him that sharks don’t take things personally? This tells me…
* Continuity’s overrated anyway.
* Marine biologists don’t know shit about what they’re talking about.
8) According to this film, sharks have absolutely no flexibility; they just pop out of the water, float on the surface as stiff as a board, and attack their victims.
9) According to this film, sharks roar like lions.
10) According to this film, sharks can stand on their tail fin.
11) This film has a “Scientific Consultant” listed in the closing credits.
12) I’m not joking.
13) In order to end this madness, Ellen strongly believes she must sacrifice herself to the shark.
14) Believe it or not, this film went full retard long, long, loooong before that happened.
15) Allegedly, Michael Caine passed up a chance to accept his Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor in Hannah and Her Sisters ’cause of his commitments to this film.
16) God forbid he break out of character here for one night out of the 364 other nights.
Wait, though, ’cause it gets better. If the narrative clusterfucks aren’t enough to convince you of this film’s ineptitude, the glaring technical flaws just might do the trick. The shark, which might as well be a Macy’s Day Parade balloon, is the most competent aspect of the film, so take that for what it’s worth. But the most glaring error, and certainly the most talked about one, involves Michael Caine. After crash-landing his plane into the ocean, thereby jeopardizing his life and the lives of two other men, in order to save Ellen from doing something stupid, he is trapped inside the sinking airplane by the shark and disappears under water. End of story.
Wait!! He survives, though! How? Well, who gives a shit? At that point in the movie, you certainly won’t. He makes his way to Michael’s boat and climbs on. He’s soaking wet. Remember that. He’s soaking wet. He’s been underwater for however long, so naturally he’s soaking wet. Okay, next shot, here he comes on the boat – oh, look at that! He’s completely dry!
I tell ya, don’t underestimate El Nino.
After studying that scene over and over again, there’s only one feasible explanation for how Hoagie could completely dry off from the time he pops up out of the water to the time he’s climbed up on the boat.
“Hi, it’s Vince from ShamWow: You’ll be saying wow everytime. It’s like a shammy, it’s like a towel, it’s like a sponge. A regular towel doesn’t work wet, this works wet or dry. This is for the house, the car, the boat, the blood-stained aftermath of the beatdown I gave that hooker I ordered. ShamWow holds 20 times it’s weight in liquid. Yeah, that’s right. Look at this. Wrap it like a tourniquet around the severed abdomen of your crazed first-mate on a revenge-fueled shark hunt of Biblical proportions. It just does the work. Why do you want to work twice as hard? Made in Germany, you know the Germans always make good stuff – like the Holocaust. Okay, now we’re gonna do this in real time. Look at this. Throw an Oscar winner in the great white infested ocean, right there, you following me camera guy? One shot – bam. Virtually dryyyy on the bottom. See what I’m telling ya? ShamWow: You’ll be saying wow everytime!”
“Call 1-800-951-7100. ShamWow is not available in stores and is made in Germany. Explanation for just how the hell Hoagie survived at the end other than ‘Well, it bloody just wasn’t bloody easy.’ sold separately. Beware of ShamWow imitators. Call 1-800-951-7100. That’s 1-800-951-7100. Call now!”
Lastly, congrats are in order for two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine, who with Jaws: The Revenge and On Deadly Ground, now earns the exclusive “Platinum What the Hell Were They Thinking?! Membership” awarded to those who’ve made this segment at least twice. Those already awarded membership include fellow On Deadly Ground star Steven Seagal, Robert Z’Dar, John Rhys-Davies (reigning three-time “What the Hell Were They Thinking?!” champion) Casper Van Dien and Udo Kier (must be for at least two unrelated films, which is why Ian Ziering from Sharknado doesn’t count).
Sir Michael Caine, you’re joining some exceptional company.
“Goodnight you princes of Maine, you kings of New England!”
Be it the lack of tension and thrills, bland characters or a shark so laughably unrealistic, wheeling out one made of paper mache would look like a National Geographic special, Jaws: The Revenge is a blow to Universal’s monster franchise so low and hard, it makes the two crappy sequels before it seem reasonably on par with Spielberg’s classic. It’s not bizarre enough to be a best-worst classic, but it’s still able to provide some unintentional amusement by being so astoundingly illogical and inept, it reaches a stratospheric level of stupid very few films are able to accomplish.