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Lorraine Gary has some affecting moments as Ellen, but Jaws the Revenge is mild and predictable, the very things an adventure movie should never be.
Jaws the Revenge is not simply a bad movie, but also a stupid and incompetent one - a ripoff.
Angry fish travels to the Bahamas for the Christmas holidays, plotting revenge against the family of a vacationing New England widow (Lorraine Gary). Noel, noel, a charming gift idea with suggestions of inverted seasonal myth—until director Joseph Sargent swamps it all in antimythical literalism and predictable lunchtime theater.
Significantly worse than the rest of the series, this film is one of the worst flops in recent cinema.
While it's mostly just a matter of waiting till feeding time, there is a hint that somebody was trying to foist some Symbolism onto the shark: as mother and son suffer an attack of the Oedipals, the creature keeps popping up grinning. Sadly, this attempt at a bit of Art (which could have had hilarious consequences) is ditched, and the film concludes with a few people getting chewed before a messy happy ending amid chunks of exploding shark.
Even the special effects are lame in this one, offering a latex shark that is about as realistic as a fake goldfish. Poorly directed by Joseph Sargent, who relies heavily on blood and fast editing to create tension since there certainly isn't any written into the script.
Pacing leaves a lot to be desired and the moment-of-attack sequences, full of jagged cuts and a great deal of noise, more closely resemble the view from inside a washing machine.
In a wicked mess of unmatched water shots and dreadful interior airplane sequences, the characters outlined in little blue halos, the performances range from the mortifying to the merely immemorable. Against all odds, Lance Guest and Karen Young manage to be warm and credible. Podgy but game, Michael Caine, bravely attempts mouth-to-mouth resusitation on a role which is little more than anecdotes strung together. It is not his finest hour.
The director, Joseph Sargent, doesn't bring out any of the possibilities in the material -- not even the scary ones. And Michael Caine is wasted, though not completely. He manages to provide at least a little suspense, even if it's the extracurricular sort, by raising the question: Will an Oscar winner be allowed to become fish food?
There's more suspense in On Golden Pond. And when the predictable ending comes, it has none of the titanic man-versus-beast struggle of the original. It all happens so quickly, you wonder if you've missed something. But, no you haven't, because there it is -- the familiar calm sea . . . of credits.

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