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Joseph Sargent
Michael Caine, Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles, Karen Young, Judith Barsi, Lynn Whitfield, Mitchell Anderson
Writing Credits:
Peter Benchley (novel, "Jaws"), Michael De Guzman

This time ... It's personal.

Once again the peace of Amity and the lives of the Brody family are shattered by a bloodthirsty shark in this suspense-packed sequel to the original classic chiller. Lorraine Gary reprises her role as the now widowed Ellen Brody who finds herself reliving the horrors of the past when a mammoth shark kills her son. Grief-stricken, she travels to the Bahamas to be with her other son, a marine biologist (Lance Guest), and his family. There she meets and falls for a carefree airplane pilot (Michael Caine). But just as she is putting her life back together, the nightmare of the past returns when her granddaughter is attacked by an all-too-familiar Great White. Determined to end the terror once and for all, Ellen sets out for a showdown to the death. The action and tension build rapidly to a shattering climax in this, the most incredible Jaws adventure of them all. And this time, it's personal!

Box Office:
$23 million.
Opening Weekend
$7.154 million on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$20.763 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 6/3/2003

• Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 15, 2009)

Time for some fun with Strange Sequel Coincidences! In the summer of 1983, multiplexes featured both Jaws 3 and Superman 3. Both of these earned mediocre to poor reviews, and both underperformed at the box office.

After that, one might’ve expected the respective franchises to fade. However, both reappeared in the summer of 1987. In fact, they hit screens within a week of each other; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace came out on July 24, while Jaws the Revenge was released on July 17.

Both flicks also represented the absolute nadir of their franchises. Each one tanked at the box office and received vicious reviews. It took 19 years before the Superman series re-emerged with 2006’s Superman Returns, and we’ve still not seen another Jaws movie. I’d bet the suits decide to revisit the series someday, but the stench of Revenge remains powerful.

After a sojourn in Florida for Jaws 3, Revenge returns us to New England, the site of the first two flicks. We learn that Chief Brody died somewhere along the way, and his son Sean (Mitchell Anderson) now serves as a police deputy with the Amity force. During a routine attempt to clean up some debris offshore, a giant Great White shark attacks and kills Sean.

Sean’s mother Ellen (Lorraine Gary) believes the shark intentionally waited for another Brody to hit the water and went after Sean as revenge for the other sharks the family killed. Oldest son Michael (Lance Guest) thinks she’s cracking up, so he urges her to go to the Bahamas with him and his family.

During his work as a marine biologist, Michael runs across a Great White. This seems remarkable for a few reasons. First, Great Whites avoid warm water climates, so it seems amazing that one shows up in the Bahamas. In addition, the shark appears to avoid other edible targets and it heads straight for Michael. The shark doesn’t get him, but its presence sets various issues into motion as we track its pursuit of the Brody families and their attempts to stay uneaten.

When I first saw the trailer for 1996’s Twister, I thought it made it look as though tornadoes were sentient beings out to get people. This wasn’t true, of course; Twister took lots of liberties, but it didn’t go that far into the realm of fantasy.

To my utter amazement, Revenge does make that absurd leap, as it gives us super-powered sharks with the intelligence to track the Brodys. That, my friends, is what we call a “fatal flaw”. The filmmakers’ decision to turn this into the most bizarre revenge fantasy ever committed to film means that we can never take any aspect of it seriously.

Make no mistake: there’s no room for interpretation here. If the filmmakers had tried a little harder to give us some room for doubt, the movie might’ve been more intriguing. Ellen could’ve received a greater psychological dimension as a woman suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder who sees sharks behind every wave.

But Revenge never offers such a viewpoint. Ellen never really questions her sanity, and it doesn’t seem like anyone else does, either. The film doesn’t allow the audience to doubt her mental capacities either, as it quickly makes it clear that the shark really is on the lookout for any Brody she can find.

Almost 22 years after Revenge hit the screens, I still can’t get over the fact that anyone thought the concept of a vengeful, intelligent shark was a good idea for a movie. Heck, at least 1999’s Deep Blue Sea gave us a scientific rationale for its super-sharks; no such explanation exists in Revenge.

Instead, we’re just supposed to accept the shark’s amazing abilities. We have to believe that the shark cares about revenge, thinks out a plan to get back at the Brodys, and can sense whenever one of them hits the water. Apparently the shark has access to plane schedules, as it realizes Ellen has left Amity and zips down to the Bahamas to get her. It also seems to be in many places at once; seconds after any Brody so much as dips a toe in the ocean, it’s right there with teeth a-chomping!

To quote Dr. Evil: riiiiiiiiigght. In the long history of movies, someone must’ve come up with a more ludicrous idea for a plot point, but I can’t think of one right now.

The main concept of the vengeful shark is so insane and absurd that it totally taints everything else. I can suspend disbelief as well as the next guy, but I can’t will myself into the vegetative stupor required to buy into this story. Even if the rest of Revenge was executed as well as the original Jaws, it wouldn’t matter.

Since absolutely nothing about Revenge compares favorably to Jaws - or even its spotty sequel Jaws 2 - I don’t need to worry about any internal conflicts. Sweet Biscuits, what an awful movie! It’s amazing to think Michael Caine won an Oscar the same year this nonsense stunk up the screens. I guess he’s lucky it didn’t come out in the weeks during which the voters cast their ballots or it might’ve crushed his hopes ala Eddie Murphy’s Norbit fiasco.

But Caine isn’t the worst thing about the movie. Indeed, he tries his best to bring some life to the film, even though he often feels like he’s in some buddy movie instead of a shark attack flick; Hoagie the jovial rogue makes one inappropriate wisecrack after another. Mario Van Peebles provides arguably the silliest Caribbean accent on record, and Gary chews up more scenery than the shark.

Speaking of which, “Bruce” in the original film came under attack for not being particularly convincing. That sucker looked perfectly realistic compared to the stiff stinker in Revenge. Rubber bathtub toys offer more believable motion than this film’s shark.

You can smell the cheapness all around Revenge. If you’ve ever taken a movie studio tour, you’ve seen how they shoot water scenes in tanks with painted backdrops. Never had I noticed that fake scenery as clearly as I did during Revenge. You can actually see waves lap up against the tank’s wall!

Really, nothing about Revenge works well. There’s no drama or suspense, and even the shark attack scenes become laughable due to director Joseph Sargent’s relentless overuse of slow motion. The film leaps from one idiotic situation to another with alacrity. This isn’t just a bad film; it’s a stupid one without any redeeming value.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

Jaws the Revenge appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While erratic, the transfer usually seemed pretty good.

Sharpness became an occasional concern. I noticed light edge enhancement, and those haloes added to a bit of softness in some wide shots. Nonetheless, the majority of the movie featured acceptable to positive clarity and definition. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, but source flaws created periodic distractions. These weren’t heavy, but a smattering of specks and marks cropped up throughout the flick.

With the tropical setting, colors usually fared well. Sometimes they appeared a little thick, but the hues mostly demonstrated nice vivacity and liveliness. Blacks were reasonably dark and firm, and shadows showed decent delineation. Some low-light shots were a bit dense, but they usually appeared fine. The ups and downs left us with a “B-“ transfer.

The Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Revenge also came with its own ups and downs. The movie usually demonstrated a fairly broad soundfield – maybe a little too broad at times, as the scope seemed more expansive than the subject matter deserved. During a few sequences, I felt the use of the sides and the surrounds became a minor distraction, as the volume of the material from those speakers was too loud.

Nonetheless, the movie usually provided a decent sense of environment. Elements moved between channels in an acceptable way, and the various components helped form a fair impression of the various settings. The surrounds kicked in good information, especially during aircraft sequences.

Audio quality showed its own inconsistencies. Speech was intelligible but seemed “canned” at times; most of the lines remained acceptably natural, but I thought more than a few displayed their looped roots in an obvious manner. Effects were a bit better, though they could show some mild roughness. Still, they usually appeared accurate, and they boasted a bit of bass when appropriate.

Music seemed fine for the most part. At times I thought the score sounded somewhat ragged, as high end became somewhat shrill. Those instances weren’t typical; while the music never appeared especially vivid and dynamic, it usually came across with acceptable fidelity. Overall, the audio was inconsistent but good enough for a “C+”.

Don’t expect much in terms of extras. Jaws 3 comes with its theatrical trailer. The “Recommendations” area simply tells us to go watch the other three Jaws movies.

After the miserable Jaws 3, I didn’t think the franchise could sink any lower. I was wrong, as Jaws the Revenge manages to make a bad situation even worse. Jaws 3 was just stupid and boring; Revenge adds possibly the most idiotic plot twist in history to its ledger. The DVD provides acceptable to good picture and audio but includes virtually no supplements. I can’t imagine a movie dumber than this.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 14
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