Jaws: The Revenge is commonly considered the fourth and final installment in the Jaws franchise. Interestingly, Universal largely ignored Jaws 3-D in press releases, citing Jaws: The Revenge as the third film in a trilogy. However, in its DVD release, the film was later marketed by Universal as Jaws 4: The Revenge.
Like two of the previous installments in the franchise, this film also begins on the island of Amity. Sheriff Martin Brody has died from a heart attack and his wife, Ellen (Lorraine Gary), is now the head of the Brody family. Ellen now lives with Sean (Mitchell Anderson) and his fiancée, Tiffany (Mary Smith) while Sean works as a police deputy with the APD. During the Christmas celebrations, Sean is dispatched to clear a stray log from a buoy in the main harbor. As he does so, a massive Great White Shark unexpectedly bursts out of the water, rips off one of his arms, and then violently pulls him under the surface.
Ellen is convinced that the shark targeted Sean with a vengeance, possibly resulting from incidents portrayed in the previous two films. Not taking any chances, Ellen decides to go to The Bahamas to spend time with her older son Michael (Lance Guest), her daughter-in-law Carla (Karen Young), and their five year old daughter, Thea (Judith Barsi). More so then to escape the shark, Ellen likely uses the trip to clear her fears believing the shark cannot possibly follow her to the Caribbean. There Ellen meets a carefree English airplane pilot named Hoagie (Michael Caine). Michael and his friends Jake (Mario Van Peebles), William and Clarence work as marine biologists. Thea enjoys her Christmas in the Caribbean, but seems to spend more time with Michael, Jake and Jake's wife while Ellen seems to be withdrawn, staring at the ocean. Carla wonders about Ellen, whereas Michael chalks it up to depression over his brother's death.
During research, the same shark that had attacked Sean in Amity just weeks before, unexpectedly appears causing havoc and alarm. Michael and Jake decide to keep quiet about the shark’s presence to protect Michael’s credibility. He also reveals that his mother has been worried sick about him; his career putting him in danger of suffering the same fate as Sean, and been pressuring him to quit his work in marine biology and find a new career on land.
During a second appearance of the same large shark now clearly bent on revenge, Jake stabs a sonar tracking pole into the shark’s side. Michael is then chased by the shark, but punctures his air tank, allowing him to narrowly escape. The following day, Carla debuts her art work to a crowd gathered on the beach, while Thea goes out on an inflatable banana boat with her friend Margaret, her mother, and a Bahamian girl. Without warning, the shark appears and attacks the banana boat, killing Margaret's mother and terrorizing the three other girls. Believing the shark has gone too far, Ellen takes Michael and Jake’s boat and goes after it with revenge in mind.
Michael returns home and lets the truth slip about the shark. Michael and Jake are then flown by Hoagie to look for Ellen, eventually locating her. Hoagie force lands the plane on the water, allowing Michael and Jake to swim to Ellen’s boat (Neptune’s Folly) while the shark, which senses its pursuers are tracking it, violently turns and attacks the floating plane. Hoagie survives, and Jake uses a device to agitate the shark. Jake then goes to the end of the prow and the shark unexpectedly leaps up taking Jake underwater before he can implement an effective attack. Michael then uses a spare bowsprit to gain the sharks attention, which causes it to again leap out of the water and growl in contempt.
Taking advantage of the shark’s diversion, Ellen steers the boat into it and stabs the beast with the broken bowsprit, creating an explosive result and the sharks’ apparent demise. The shark is then seen sinking with the ship. Later Jake surfaces and appears mauled but alive. At the end of the film, Ellen is flown back to Amity Island by Hoagie then waves goodbye to Michael, Carla and Thea who return to the Bahamas.
Although supported by a powerful studio marketing campaign, Jaws: The Revenge was unfortunately a box-office disappointment, and universally panned by both critics and audiences. Currently it holds a rare 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. And though being labeled "the worst film ever made", the film has surprisingly become something of a cult favorite amongst its few admirers, and the brunt of often hilarious parodies. In fact many now consider the resulting humor to be slightly more entertaining than than the actual film. Cable television shows like 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' have used it as voice over fodder to great effect. The film is considered the worst sequel in the franchise amongst most serious fans of the franchise.
- This movie is regarded as the worst movie to ever come out in the 1980's (sometimes even the worst movie ever made). It has 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, 3.0 out of 10 on IMDb and a Metacritic Score of 15. Responsible for this Reception are the psychic Connection between Ellen and the shark, the shark following the Brody Family from the US to the Bahamas, the Story and the DVD ending to the movie.
- Jaws: The Revenge has two filmed endings. The one everyone is familiar with is the ending where the shark explodes after getting impaled. The second ending was only used in the theatrical release in which the shark gets impaled, blood shoots out of the shark’s mouth and it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
- Melvin van Peebles, the father of Mario van Peebles, has a bit part in the film, playing the mayor of the Bahamian seaside community.