Jaws: The Revenge (also known as Jaws 4: The Revenge or simply Jaws 4), is a 1987 American horror thriller film directed by Joseph Sargent. It is the third and final sequel to Steven Spielberg's Jaws and the fourth and final installment in the Jaws franchise. It also had the shortest production window of the Jaws movies. While the other three films in the series took around two years to produce, Jaws: The Revenge was made in less than nine months.
According to associate producer and production manager Frank Baur during the sequel's filming, "This (Revenge) will be the fastest I have ever seen a major film planned and executed in all of my 35 years as a production manager."
On Amity Island, chief Martin Brody, the hero of two previous shark attacks, has died from a heart attack. His wife, Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), attributes it to his previous encounters with killer sharks. She now lives with Brody's younger and more obedient son Sean (Mitchell Anderson) and his fiancée Tiffany (Mary Smith). Sean works as a police deputy and is sent to clear a log from a buoy a few days before Christmas. As he does so, a massive great white shark bursts out of the water, severing his arm, then pulls him under the surface and devours him, sinking his boat in the process.
Ellen is convinced that the shark deliberately targeted Sean on purpose. She decides to go to the Bahamas to spend time with Brody's older son Michael (Lance Guest), his wife Carla (Karen Young), and their 5-year-old daughter Thea (Judith Barsi). At the islands, Ellen meets carefree airplane pilot Hoagie (Michael Caine). Michael — along with partners Jake (Mario Van Peebles), William and Clarence — works as a marine biologist.
The shark that killed Sean unexpectedly appears and attempts to devour their boat. The crew decides to keep quiet about the shark's presence due to Ellen's attempts to convince Michael to find a job on land. Ellen becomes so obsessive that she starts having nightmares of being attacked by a shark. Then she starts getting psychic feelings when the shark is near or attacks. She and the shark seem to share a strange connection that is unexplained. The crew decides to attach a device to the shark that would track its heartbeat. Using chum to attract it, Jake stabs the device's tracking pole into the side of the shark. The next day, Michael is chased by the shark and barely manages to escape unharmed.
Thea goes on an inflatable banana boat with her friend Margaret and her mother. The shark attacks and kills Margaret's mother. Thea and Carla are traumatized following the attack. Ellen boards Jake's boat to track down the shark, intending to sacrifice herself to save the rest of her family. Michael and Jake are flown by Hoagie to search for Ellen and find the shark in pursuit of their boat (which Ellen has hijacked). During the search, Hoagie explains to Michael about Ellen's theory that the shark that killed Sean has followed her to the Bahamas to exact revenge on the Brodys. When they finally found her, Hoagie lands the plane on the water, ordering Michael and Jake to swim to the boat as the shark drags the plane and Hoagie underwater.
Much to Ellen's disbelief, Hoagie survives. Michael was upset with Ellen because he was worried that she would have been killed by the shark. Jake and Michael hastily put together an explosive powered by electrical impulses. They begin blasting the shark with the impulses, which begin to drive it mad; it repeatedly jumps out of the water, roaring in pain. As Jake moves to the front of the boat, the shark lunges, giving it the chance to pull Jake under and maul him. He manages to get the explosive into the shark's mouth before he is taken underwater.
Michael continues to blast the shark with the impulses, causing it to leap out of the water again, igniting the bomb as Ellen rams the shark with the sailboat. The broken bowsprit impales the shark, spraying blood everywhere, and its corpse sinks to the bottom of the sea. In the DVD cut, when the shark is impaled by the bowsprit, it's head explodes and sinks to the bottom of the sea. Michael then hears Jake calling for help, seriously injured but alive and conscious, floating in the water. The four survive the harsh encounter and make it back to land. Hoagie then flies Ellen back to Amity Island.
Why It Sucks
- This movie officially turned the shark movie genre into a dead horse, with no new action or content.
- The effects of the shark are just awful. Aside from the obvious animatronics, there’s a moment near the end of the film where the shark gets impaled and explodes. A freeze frame reveals that the special effects crew just used a toy shark and a toy boat.
- As to why the shark explodes was because there’s another ending (only shown in some TV versions) which simply had the shark bleed to death; an ending that got altered after the test screening.
- Unbelievable scenes, like the shark pulling down an actual plane and roaring after getting zapped with an electronic shocker.
- The movie feels like a melodramatic soap opera and less like a Summer blockbuster whenever Ellen interacts with Hoagie.
- Bloopers (e.g. Hoagie climbs up out of the water and his shirt is totally dry.)
- Kitsch dialogue (e.g. "I always wanted to make love to an angry welder. I dreamed of nothing else since I was a small boy."), while it is appropriate enough, its delivered with complete deadpan.
- A bizarre storyline. The novelization clears things up a little.
- Many scenes rip off the original classic (e.g. Michael and Thea touching their faces and imitating each other like Martin did with Sean when he was a child and when the shark dies, a scene from the first film is stolen where it has the exact shot of the shark sinking into the ocean.)
- Chief Brody died of a heart attack because he is afraid of a shark. (How can he die from the fear of sharks when he killed two of them?!)
- The idea of placing a Jaws movie during Christmas was a poorly thought idea.
- The film permanently killed the franchise.
- Unlike Jaws 3-D, this movie did have a returning cast member, Lorraine Gary, who appeared in the first two movies.
- The film takes place in Amity Island, unlike the third film.
- The original score by John Williams and the additional score by Michael Small is well done, especially during the opening credits.
- Michael Caine's reaction when the shark appears is appropriate and unintentionally amusing.
- The original uncut ending is much better than the actual ending.
Jaws: The Revenge was heavily panned by both critics and moviegoers. The film currently holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 34 reviews, with an average rating of 2/10. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 15/100, based on 15 reviews, which means “overwhelming dislike”. On Common Sense Media, the film has a rating of one star out of five and it holds a 2.9/10 on IMDb. Film critic Gene Siskel of The Chicago Tribune stated in his review, "Let's put it this way: When you see and hear Lorraine Gary on screen you just want the shark to eat her." Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film a rare zero out of four stars and stated in his review "The shark models have so little movement that at times they seem to be supporting themselves on boats, instead of attacking them. Up until the ludicrous final sequence of the movie, the scariest creature in the film is an eel." Trace Thurman of Bloody-Disgusting described the film as "a lazy, dumb and (most unforgivably) boring film that does not need to exist at all."
Jaws: The Revenge opened at #3 on its opening weekend grossing $7,154,890. The total domestic gross was $20,763,013. In foreign markets, it made $31,118,000 and the film had a worldwide gross of $51,881,013 against its $23 million budget. The film was a box office disappointment.
Awards and nominations
Jaws: The Revenge won one Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects for Henry Millar while it was nominated for six including Worst Picture. The film lost the other Razzies to Leonard Part 6, Who's That Girl, Over the Top, Tough Guys Don't Dance.
Reviews and Top 10s
- On October 21, 2015 (aka Back to the Future Day), Universal released a Jaws 19 parody trailer. (see above)
- In response to the negative reception, Universal poked fun at the film in Back To The Future Part II, when Marty McFly gets "bitten" by a holographic shark advertisement for a fictional sequel titled Jaws 19 and his overall reaction is "Shark still looks fake."