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‘Jaws the Revenge’ (PG-13)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 24, 1987

The shark you thought was blown into fish sticks in the original "Jaws" is apparently back in "Jaws The Revenge" to chow down on the Brody bunch. This special-effects Great White is so transparently a machine that it could well be a shark Terminator -- "Blown up by a human killer, he was rebuilt to roam the seas in search of . . ." -- but, hey, the background story's the least of this movie's problems.

So Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) is still hanging 'round Amity. Her husband Deputy Sheriff Brody (Roy Scheider) has since died (rather than be in any more "Jaws" sequels). And the thing with the fin and the grin is sniffing around the shore for pink meat -- pink Brody meat. When Ellen's son Sean (Mitchell Anderson), now deputy sheriff himself, answers a call to untangle a buoy Out There, he becomes sea Spam. Then, there's just two Brodies to go: Mom and her other son Michael.

Grieving Mama (in a fit of acting, Lorraine Gary gets upset over the death) retreats to the Bahamas where Michael (Lance Guest) is studying to be a marine biologist. (Guess that would take him into the water a whole lot, huh?) He's studying conches with Jake (Mario Van Peebles), a wiseacre festooned with dreadlocks and a bad Caribbean accent. While there, Mom also meets pilot Hoagie, played by Michael Caine -- who must have wandered off the set of a much better movie in the area. He gives her loving support; she experiences flashbacks from "Jaws I."

And guess who's coming to dinner?

Joseph Sargent, who directed "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three," as well as the TV miniseries "Space," directs some sequences among the humans which are so pathetic that you begin rooting for the shark. And screenwriter Michael de Guzman Xeroxes scenes from the original "Jaws" shamelessly: Kids go floating off to sea on a raft. Jake sticks a tracking device on the shark. And they even reenact the original "Jaws" scene where Scheider's son imitates his father's actions at the dinner table.

And thrillseekers, this one's pretty dismal. 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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