review for Jaws: The Revenge on AllMovie

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
by Jeremy Wheeler review

Simply put, Jaws: The Revenge is a mess. Not only do the filmmakers expect the audience to believe that the shark follows Ma Brody from Amity Island all the way down to the Bahamas, but then they also throw in psychic connections as well as a roaring shark to boot! Welcome to the wild world of Jaws: The Revenge, where the rules are chomped up and spat out like rotten chum. Cast-wise, there's Michael Caine, who lost out on accepting his Oscar thanks to this production, plus The Last Starfighter's Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles with a dreadful Jamaican accent, and of course, a haggard Lorraine Gary in the film that unfortunately brought her out of retirement. For the record, the first two thirds of the movie are atrociously boring. It's around the hour mark that the film goes buck-wild nuts and never turns back. The shark really turns into a main character at this point as he eats up more screen time than any of his predecessors. The crystal-clear water doesn't really help either -- making it easier to see the rigging and puppeteer rods that show up multiple times in the film's 91-minute running time. The finale is an even bigger botch job made even more intriguing by its multiple endings. There is the ending that test audiences saw, the different ones shown in theaters around the globe, and yet another one thrown in for video and DVD. Mario Van Peebles lives in some and dies in others, while the shark's death ranges from a bloody skewering to an exploding dummy depending on the print. Either way, the tour de force ending is a lesson in bad-movie bliss as Ma Brody pilots her sailing ship into the heart of the roaring shark, thus ending the psychic feud of the Brodys and the great whites. Amazingly, the jaw-dropping entertainment doesn't stop there, as the rest of the scene plays out in a pool whose horizon line is clearly splashing against a cement wall painted like the sky. Yes, Jaws: The Revenge is spectacularly special in all the wrong ways, making this a perfectly dreadful fourth film in a series that had already lost most of its juice long before this sucker swam to the surface.