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Thursday, May 5, 2016

'Revenge' losing its bite over time

Thursday, September 9, 2010

(Photo)
Lorraine Gary and Michael Caine try to look serious in "Jaws: The Revenge," a movie with growling sharks, bad accents and more than its fair share of goofs.
Due to the holiday, I've had to open up The Vault and dig around for an oldie but goodie. Unfortunately, what piqued my interest was "Jaws: The Revenge", so I guess this week its more a tale of an oldie, but not such a goodie.

Hey, it's "Jaws," people are being eaten and you have the well-known dum-dum-dum-dum theme, but boy was this a bad movie.

Growing up I watched all the films with eager anticipation, including "The Revenge" and didn't see too much of a problem at the time. Looking back on it with wiser eyes, I can now see how poor of a film the fourth film in the franchise was. Not even the Last Starfighter, Lance Guest, himself could save this flick.

The problems began from the get-go. We meet up once again with Ellen Brody, who now lives with her youngest son Sean (Mitchell Anderson) and fiancée Tiffany (Mary Smith) and is trying to get on with her live after her husband's death of a heart attack.

Sean is now a police officer for the Amity PD and is chewed to pieces by, you guessed it, a great white. Her other son, Michael (Lance Guest), returns from the Bahamas for the funeral and convinces his mother to join him when they return to continue his research. After watching the carnage a 25-foot great white has brought throughout their lives, he of course has decided to become a marine biologist. Makes sense, right?

Ellen is convinced the great white had it in for Sean and believes it's after her entire family. Michael puts her fears to rest when he informs her great whites don't visit the islands because it's too hot. But guess who's heading south for some fun in the sun? That's right, the big boy himself.

In the warm waters of the Bahamas, the shark stalks Michael, but when it attacks a banana boat with Michael's daughter on it, that's when Ellen decides enough is enough.

Swiping Michael and his partner Jake's (Mario Van Peebles with an atrocious Jamaican accent), boat she sets out to take out the shark once and for all. Using pieces of Jake's technology, Michael basically shocks the shark, it eventually comes out of the water and Ellen takes aim.

She impales the shark with the boat and then the most obvious thing happens -- the shark explodes. I'm not too well versed in sharks and their anatomical make up, but I'm pretty sure it you stick it with a toothpick, it's not going to go pop.

I know if you look at most any movie, you can find errors here and there, but this flick is rife with them. For instance:

1. When the shark attacks Michael in the sub at 59:47, you can see a piece of the mechanics making the shark work protruding from its tail.

2. The shark's teeth bend slightly when it chomps down on the woman on the banana boat ride around the 1:06 mark of the movie.

3. When Sean's arm is bitten off at the beginning of the movie, you can clearly see the outline of his arm under his slicker.

These are just a few of the instances where the movie falls short of weaving some magic we can believe in.

Guest is the best part of this film, but he's unable to shine enough to pull the movie from it's murky depths.

I also found it surprising that Michael Caine was in the film. He's worked on a ton of projects, but this had bad idea written all over it from the start. The story is ridiculous, the acting is atrocious and it's a clear example of a studio not knowing when to say the franchise had run out of steam.

Jaws 3-D was a steep decline, so for a studio to think a fourth film, which really doesn't fit well with the third, would be a good idea, is a little mind-boggling.

Another thing -- I like zany and goofy, but Anderson's take on Sean is just plain annoying. He takes a crack at it as if he were a seventh grade drama student hoping to impress a girl he's had his eye on.

And finally, the wonderful Lorraine Gary. She was perfect in "Jaws, "adequate in "Jaws 2" and, I hate to say it, laughable in "Jaws: The Revenge." I love strong female characters, but when she decides to hike up her pants and go after the lurking menace, it's ludicrous.

Additionally, how the film almost insinuates a type of physic connection, like being able to sense the shark from the beach, was absurd. Writer Michael De Guzman and director Joseph Sargent took a perfect character, attempted to make it something it wasn't meant to be and ended the franchise with a sub-par film that's easily forgotten.

Final Cut: Stick with Jaws and Jaws 2 if you want the full experience. From there, you can make up your own story and do a much better job. Also, buy the original novel and give it a read. It's much different than the film and equally as great.

1.5 out of 5 stars

Jaws the Revenge

Starring: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles, Michael Caine, Mitchell Anderson

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writer: Michael De Guzman

MPAA rating: PG-13

Run time: 1 hr. 30 min.