Directed by Joseph Sargent [Other horror films: Nightmares (1983)]
Before touching on any details, I want to get this controversial viewpoint out of the way: I actually like this movie more than the first Jaws. Not that it’s a better movie, necessarily, just that I had more fun with this. It occasionally drags, and there’s not near enough action, but hey, Michael Caine is fun here.
Caine appeared in few horror films, among them a starring role in The Swarm, which is perhaps his most notable one. His role here isn’t mind-blowing or anything, but he does has a consistently fun personality, which melds nicely to most others’ rather somber attitudes. I’m glad that Lorraine Gary came back as Ellen Brody, but the fact that neither Dennis Quaid or John Putch return as Mike and Sean (instead, there’s Lance Guest and Mitchell Anderson) was disappointing.
Not that Guest is actually that bad here, though he does have a few moments of mediocrity. That’s probably more the film than his acting abilities, though. Mario Van Peebles was decently fun as Jake, but really, Caine held most of my attention, which is fine, because he was probably one of the most interesting people here.
I get a lot of why this movie gets a bad rap – the idea that a particular shark is specifically going after the Brody family (why is never made clear – perhaps the sharks killed in the first and second movies were it’s parents) is pretty laughable, especially coming to an environment that isn’t ideal for it. More so, the movie’s goofy at times. The seemingly-psychic way Ellen knows that the shark is hunting her and her family is pretty bad, and that finale wasn’t near as dramatic as you’d hope (in fact, the whole the finale had an improbably positive outcome for all involved).
Still, though there isn’t nearly as much action as there should be (the shark chasing Michael was decent, but aside from that, there weren’t many action sequences of note), I think Jaws: The Revenge is reasonably fun. If it’s only because of Van Peebles and Caine, so be it, but it undeniably had more life than the often-dull Jaws 3. I’m not saying that this film is great, but I can’t deny that I enjoy it more than I probably should, and probably find it somewhere just below average.