Jaws 4: Diminishing Returns

Jaws: The Revenge

1987 | 89 min

Joseph Sargent

Jaws 3-D, the prior film in the Jaws franchise, is the worst of the four Jaws films. But not because Jaws: The Revenge didn’t try to top it. The final Jaws movie (to date!) takes us back to Amity Island, the fictional Nantucket for another sharks vs. The Brody Bunch tussle. The Brody who carried the first two films though, Chief Brody, is absent from Jaws: The Revenge. As best I can determine from old press releases, Roy Scheider declined to reprise his role because he had dignity. Instead Lorraine Gary carries the lead as his widow Ellen Brody. Gary was wonderful in the first Jaws especially and she has a gift for emotive vocalizations and laughter. Some of that talent creeps into Jaws: The Revenge. Not a lot though.

Jaws: The Revenge opens with Brody’s youngest son getting eaten by a shark while he’s at work at the police station where his dad formerly reigned. The grieving mother joins the grieving brother (Lance Guest) in the Bahamas where he is a marine biologist studying a conch species. But wait, great white sharks do not frequent the warm, shallow waters of the Bahamas, the film tells us (which is true-ish). Will there be no great white sharks in Jaws: The Revenge? Not to worry. A shark has followed the Brody’s all the way from Amity Island. Because….sharks can stalk planes? Astral projection perhaps?

The film doesn’t get any more coherent as it goes along. Very little happens that makes any sense. Subplots are introduced only to be promptly abandoned. Michael Caine phones in a supporting role. A shark sinks a plane. Mario Van Peebles has an inconsistent accent. Ma Brody takes a sailboat on a suicide mission against a shark. The shark, which is seeking revenge for the time it was previously killed, is killed again…somehow. It’s not clear. It’s also not clear why I didn’t turn off the film well before it ended.