If you keep slogging through lifeâ€™s more unpleasant tasks, youâ€™ll eventually see them through. This is a lesson I have recently relearned. Iâ€™ve spent the last several yearsâ€”Iâ€™m pretty sure thatâ€™s rightâ€”reviewing the four movies that constitute the Jaws series. These sojourns have taken me from the Olympian peaks of the initial film to the Stygian depths of, well, this one. Iâ€™m just beginning the final leg of that epic journey, but I can see the sun stretching and yawning as its fiery pate edges over the horizon, bringing with it a new day. (Admittedly, Iâ€™ll probably spend this new day reviewing a Steven Seagal movie or something.)
Still, Iâ€™m not taking our current subject lightly, as it is marked by a rare distinction. The gulf in quality between Jaws and Jaws: The Revenge may well be the widest between any two such films in the entire history of cinema. This is not meant to be a hyperbolic claim. While Iâ€™m sure others can suggest competitors for this dubious crown, Iâ€™d be willing to defend our featured pair against all comers.
For instance, letâ€™s look to the AFI 100 Best American Films list. Admittedly, thatâ€™s hardly a definitive reference, but itâ€™s not a bad place to start. By my count, only the following films on that list have been by followed by sequels: The Godfather (#3), Star Wars (#15), Psycho (#18), 2001: A Space Odyssey (#22), The Godfather Part II (#32, just to be safe), King Kong (#43), Jaws (#48), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (#50, and technically, it was a prequel), All Quiet on the Western Front (#54), Raiders of the Lost Ark (#60), The Silence of the Lambs (#65), The French Connection (#70), American Graffiti (#77), Rocky (#78) and Frankenstein (#87). (Actually, Bride of Frankenstein should have made the AFI roster instead, but what are you to do?)
Among the cited pictures, and not counting TV movie follow-ups (sorry, Psycho), only one film has a sequel within shouting distance of Jaws: The Revenge. That sorry cinematic progeny would be Rocky IV. I can actually see a reasonable debate over which one of the respective offspring was worse. I myself would still go with Jaws: The Revenge, but I could respect somebody arguing for Stalloneâ€™s Folly.
However, even putting that issue aside, Iâ€™m still going with Jaws: The Revenge as being the most unworthy follow-up. This is because I remain unconvinced that Rocky deserves to be called one of the 100 Best American Films. Itâ€™s certainly a memorable picture, but among the best hundred ever? In contrast, I fully believe Jaws to be worthy of that designation. Therefore, I maintain that the greatest gulf lies between Spielbergâ€™s film and this one.
Jaws: The Revengeâ€”they stopped numbering the entries at this point, despite it being a direct sequel to the initial two filmsâ€”remains most famous for two points:
1. Itâ€™s the movie with the Roaring Shark.
2. Itâ€™s the one where the Shark is out for, well, revenge.
Read more at Jabootu’s JAWS The Revenge Review …