Aug 28, 2012

SHITTY FLICKS: JAWS: THE REVENGE

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis.

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.


Jaws: The Revenge did for the Jaws series what Snooki did for pop culture: made things more retarded. Pre-3D Dennis Quaid, the Jaws series was pretty respectable, and granted, while we're only talking two films here, Jaws 2 had a lot to live up to. Compared to how sequels usually go, Amity's second go-around with a killer shark is pretty good. But then that fateful day came when Jaws: The Revenge/Snooki was born. And they have been lowering the bar ever since.

Jaws: The Revenge begins in December in the small, sea-side town of Amity. Choirs rehearse, people merrily shop, and a shark uncharacteristically swims in the freezing cold Amity waters, hanging out near the old piece of drift wood it's put in place to lure out the youngest son of his arch nemesis, Chief Brody (Roy Scheider, who opted not to return in any further Jaws films following Jaws 2, yet would agree to star in even worse direct-to-video sequels to fucking Dracula 2000—but I’m not bitter. RIP, by the way).

Ellen Brody, widow of Martin, fries a disturbing looking fish for dinner as her youngest son, Sean, the new Chief Brody of Amity, hangs out and stares at his mother with an unintentional, yet undeniable, look of lust. They receive a call from Mike, the eldest Brody son (cult hero Lance Guest) who is on a cushy grant assignment in the Bahamas. They make witty phone banter, reminding us that this is what real families do, and that what we’re about to experience—a shark methodically stalking members of a specific bloodline—is a problem real families face every day.

"Yeah, sure, I'll do 'Revenge of Jaws.' Just let me beat
my pride with a log and I'll be right there." - Roy Scheider

Later, Sean, having Christmas shopped while on duty, is on his way out the police station door to spend the holidays with his family when Polly, his old hen secretary, informs him that some piece of drift wood is caught under a buoy and needs to be towed away, lest it cause some sort of accident from all that late night, bitter-as-cold Christmas traffic. Brody relents, climbing aboard his boat after reminding various passersby that he shares a connection with them—that he is a part of their lives and history, as they are a part of his.

And then the shark eats both of his arms.

Seriously? A man who has had two previous shark encounters feels his best course of action, after having both arms ripped off by a shark that is intent on killing him, is to lean his whole fucking body over the side of his boat as he shouts to the nearby shore for help?

Of course, no one hears him, and he is eaten about as quickly as the realization that set in for people who paid to see this movie that they were watching a train wreck.

Ellen cries.

Mike and his family fly home to Amity for the funeral, where Mike sees that Ellen is going batty, since she's convinced the shark Martin Brody killed at the end of the first film 15 years prior is back to kill off the family (which is true...?). Ellen claims that Chief Brody was killed by the shark, to which Mike retorts it was a heart attack. “It was the fear,” Ellen turds. “The fear of it killed him!”

Ellen cries.

Mike convinces her to come to the Bahamas with him for a vacation away from all the drama. Ellen agrees. They board the ferry to the mainland to begin their journey to a warmer climate, and hopefully, happier times.

Ellen cries.

On their flight to the Bahamas, we are introduced to one of the least-imaginatively named characters in cinema history: Hoagie, played by Michael Caine, who famously could not accept his Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters in person because he was off filming this monstrosity. The genesis of his character name came from the screenwriter's realization that he could no longer coast on the already-established series' characters and would have to come up with his first original name. And so he sat back in his chair, stared at his store-bought dinner, and said, “What the fuck should I name him?”

Michael Caine would eventually go on record with his thoughts on the movie with one of the most fantastic things anyone has ever said about their own work: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."

(penis joke)

The family arrives at Mike’s home and Ellen freaks out almost immediately, as Mike’s young daughter, Thea, plays on a rope swing out on the water. Ellen then feels like a burden and probably cries.

Later, Mike is out on the water doing his bullshit experiments on conch shells, and we meet Jake, played by Mario Van Peebles, whose mock Bahamian accent offends both the ears and true natives.

Meanwhile, Ellen swims out in the middle of the ocean when she suddenly realizes this is an awful idea and gets the spooks. She begins to swim to shore when she is savagely attacked by a shark and is killed. Her blood mingles with that of the warm, island waters the end.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry. That was just a dream sequence. God, I’m really sorry—I was completely fooled there for a second. I really thought that our lead character would completely break character, spend time in a place that she's deathly afraid of, and then die halfway through her own film. 

Turns out there’s about another hour of this to get through. My bad.

Out during a routine conch shell tagging, which is probably the least interesting thing marine biologists could ever desire to do, the shark makes its presence known by sidling on up next to Jake as he farts around in his tiny little whatever-the-fuck mobile at the bottom of the ocean.

“There’s a big fish down here, mon,” Jake gurgles into the walkie talkie.

Mike, up on the surface on their boat, smiles, maybe remembering his dismembered dead brother.

“Oh yeah? How big?”

Cue the shark suddenly popping out of the water and chewing dumbly on the side of the boat for a moment before giving up and sinking below the water.

(stuffy British voice) "Notice how the shark propels itself
upward on its haunches to investigate the black man with the
odd hair. The shark manages to hold its whole body out of the
water using a method we call magic."

Jake escapes back to the surface since the shark couldn’t give less of a shit about him, and he has a joygasm in his shorts, enthusiastically making very preliminary plans on how to track the shark. Mike forlornly sits on the side of the boat, remembering that one time his family was destroyed by a very similar shark. Jake realizes he’s being a dick and unbelievably insensitive and the two wrestle.

Later, Jake attaches a heartbeat tracking device to the shark and hooks it up to a monitor, which will alert them if the shark is ever within close proximity. It should be noted that Jake is capable of creating inventive machines to help aid in the tracking of a great white shark, something no one had ever done up to that point, yet devotes his studies to finding out how conch shells fuck and move.

Ellen and Hoagie grow closer and closer, almost on the verge of having old sex, when something less disturbing happens: The shark attacks Thea while she is out on the water and eats the woman sitting right behind her.

Ellen, sick of this shit, takes Mike’s boat and heads out to sea, her eyes narrowed, her old, gnarled hands grasping the wheel, her dry skin stretched over her forehead like a child’s mask. What her plan is remains unknown by the audience and probably her. All we know is she’s pissed (because the music says we have to think that).

Mike returns home, sees his daughter in a semi-comatose state, and then leaves to chase down his mother with the help of Jake, who apparently sits the fuck home and does nothing as the whole island is besot with shark-inflicted trauma.

On their way to find another boat, they run into Hoagie, and the three hop into his plane to find Ellen, who has made incredible, space travel-like time to get so far out into the middle of nowhere. The plane discovers her as she is in the throes of her genius plan: to stand at the bow and sit there like old, white shit as the shark pops up out of the water to eat her flaccid body. Luckily, Hoagie is an ace pilot, and he flies so low that it knocks her out of her stupid ‘whoa-as-me’ trance, saving her life and keeping her on the planet for at least 3-4 more years.

SHARK DANCE PARTY!!

Hoagie attempts a water landing, which is impossibly successful. Mike and Jake swim for the boat, and Hoagie, instead of getting his old ass in gear and swimming for the boat himself, opts to just stand on the wing of the plane and make old cockney jokes.

The shark then pops up and eats Hoagie. How ironic.

Mike and Jake reach the boat and everyone hugs.

Ellen cries.

Then Hoagie pops up to alleviate the high dramatic tension this movie thinks it’s creating, fresh out of the water, yet, completely dry. Hoagie makes about five unfunny jokes in a row before they figure out they should probably concoct a way not to die. Jake turns a flashlight into something that sends out electronic pulses to the tracking device attached to the shark and can fuck with the shark’s sonar, thus confusing it so they can….do something that remains unknown. If anyone has a plan to follow up the pulse thing, nobody’s talking.

Jake steps out on the ledge of the bow to shoot electronic pulses at the shark. The shark responds by shoving his head out of the water and screaming. Jake does this a bunch of times until the shark pops up out of the water right under him. Jake attempts to shove the whole flashlight gizmo into the shark’s mouth, which I guess is supposed to make it explode.

Somehow.

Well, Jake falls directly into the shark’s mouth because he is a dumb, dumb fuck.

Mike screams one of cinema's greatest slow-motion screams.

Ellen cries.

If you watch this scene barely carefully, you’ll see that the shark, with Jake firmly entrenched in its jaws, then lowers itself snout-first back into the water, which would indicate that this shark is completely out of the water for such a move to make any kind of physically realistic sense.

Note to filmmakers: sharks are not snakes. Also, they do not growl/scream.

"How do you do daht wit you body, mon?"

Mike makes his own flashlight gizmo and tries the same damn thing. The shark again screams like a dinosaur each time it receives a shock. Ellen steers the boat, and as she does so, inexplicably has flashbacks to Martin Brody’s bad-ass defeat of the shark in the first film, even though she wasn't actually there to see it. As Mike sends out pulses, Hoagie stares with his thumb up his ass and continues to make supremely inappropriate jokes, and Ellen steers the boat, and:

ENDING # 1
One last pulse from the flashlight pisses off and disorients the shark so much that it LITERALLY, and impossibly, stands completely perpendicular out of the water so that Ellen can steer the boat's broken bowspirit directly into it, stabbing it. The shark wiggles its head around as blood spews everywhere, and the boat is ripped apart by the flailing.


ENDING # 2
One last pulse causes the shark to literally EXPLODE, shooting pieces of shark gore everywhere. The force of the shark exploding also causes the entire boat to explode, and our cast is thrown into the “ocean,” and if you look carefully, you can see water clearly lapping up against the matte painting in the background. And despite the fact that the shark exploded to pieces, we see it sink slowly to the bottom of the ocean, letting its blood fill the screen until all we can see is red—a frankly beautiful shot in an otherwise shitty movie. And do you know why? Because it’s stolen, frame-for-frame, directly from the first Jaws.

The three survivors meet up in the water to talk about stuff going on in their lives when suddenly Jake, offensively alive, floats up to them and says hello. This is what we call an “homage.” This scene is an “homage” to the original Jaws, where Richard Dreyfuss suddenly shows up at the end after being gone for most of the final act, even though the audience thought he was dead. It was a little nudge at the audience,  the original filmmakers saying, “See? We had you! We had you so good you forgot about Richard Dreyfuss!” However, don’t be fooled. Jaws is a fantastic film - a true display of bravura filmmaking in the face of high on-set tensions and malfunctioning special effects.

Jaws: The Revenge isn’t.

Jaws: The Revenge shows a grown man being savagely chewed and eaten by a shark, and then pulled under water for several bloody minutes, but then has that man come back anyway so these very lame filmmakers can say, “See? We fooled you. You all thought Jake was dead because his chest was ripped apart and he was drowned.”

Anyway, why the two endings? It would seem Ending # 1 was the re-shot ending, which I guess was less stupid than Ending # 2—you know, the one featuring the spontaneous explosion.

TRIVIA!

The former president of Universal Studios, Sid Sheinberg, commissioned this film to be made as a birthday present to his wife. That wife? Lorraine Gary. And she reacted to the prospect of such an audacious birthday gift the same way audiences did after they saw this film so many moons ago.

She cried.

What I Learned from Jaws: The Revenge:
  • Sharks growl.
  • Sharks are capable of setting up elaborate traps to snare their victims.
  • Sharks hold grudges against people.
  • Sharks will avenge other sharks, even though they also eat each other.
  • People are named Hoagie.
  • Michael Caine will literally do anything for money.




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