Film (1987)

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am


Jaws: The Revenge
Michael Caine, Lance Guest, Lorraine Gary, Mario Van Peebles
Director: Joseph Sargent

Sequels rarely match the original, but the gulf between Jaws and this disaster is remarkable: Steven Spielberg's classic has a rare 100 per cent rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Joseph Sargent's ... not-so-classic has an even rarer 0 per cent.

To the plot, such as it is. Taglined 'This Time it's Personal', it is about a fish ... seeking revenge.

Lorraine Gary returns as Ellen Brody, widow of Roy Scheider's character from the first two films. (The events of second sequel Jaws 3-D are ignored - not so much the 'franchise reboot' popular today, more a 'meh, forget it'.) While Jaws builds up patiently to the bitey stuff, Sargent and writer Michael De Guzman wait just nine minutes for the first attack. But it's more of a gumming than a biting (the makers of the appalling rubber sharks having seemingly decided that articulated jaws would be a waste of everybody's time), but Ellen's son Sean (Mitchell Anderson) still cops it, in the first of many unintentionally funny moments.

Ellen is haunted to the point where she believes fish understand the concept of vengeance. Her remaining son Michael (Lance Guest) proposes she join his family in the Bahamas, so she can worry about him out on the sea every day completing his marine biology PhD with Mario Van Peebles, whose Caribbean accent roams from Enniskillen to Uttar Pradesh.

Ellen briefly finds calm and the prospect of romance with Hoagie, a rascally pilot who has clearly been running drugs and arms for much of his life. They begin a tedious love affair redeemed by Michael Caine - for it is he - delivering lines such as 'Sharks come and go Ellen - people have got nothing to do with it'.

It isn't long before the shark reappears - it takes just three days to swim 2,000 kilometres, one of the many reasons people mock the filmmakers. And since that's what we're here for: the shark roars like a lion; Ellen has flashbacks to events that she was not present at; Caine emerges from the sea after crash-landing his plane (for no reason) not only completely unhurt but also completely dry; oh, and a fish seeks revenge.

Roger Ebert kicks off his review with 'not simply a bad movie, but also a stupid and incompetent one', and gets harsher from there - yet one of the worst films ever made still covered its costs. At least any plans for more sequels died with the shark (inexplicable explosion is how he goes), preventing the famous Back to the Future II visual gag ('Jaws 19 - This Time it's Really, Really Personal') from becoming reality.

Caine, who couldn't pick up his Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters due to this holiday in the Bahamas, has the last word, though.

'I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible,' he said. 'However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.'