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Jaws 2

tn_jaws2BrucethesharkiconWatching JAWS 2 for the first time I was thinking maybe man is actually worse than shark. Because would shark make a sequel to JAWS? I don’t think shark would. I think they’d know to leave it well enough alone. But then I thought well, the shark in this one, Jaws 2 we’ll call him, is pretty much sequelizing what Bruce “Jaws” Shark did in part 1. He sees that Bruce caused a splash (get it?) eating people at Amity Island and he thought you know what, I will do the same thing but not as good and with a higher body count.

So I guess man and shark are the same. Sharks swarm when there’s blood in the water, men when there’s money to be made. We’re creatures of pure instinct.

mp_jaws2Roy Scheider returns as Chief Brody, still chief of police and with even more pressure to not scare anybody because they’re opening a bunch of condos there. Unfortunately for everybody another shark (Jaws 2) does show up and start eating people. And once again Brody is the only one who believes it’s a shark, and he embarrasses himself with a false alarm on the beach, and everybody thinks he’s crazy. De ja vu. Must be a glitch in the matrix.

Some divers and water skiiers get eaten, and even an orca. This was the year after ORCA, which had an orca headbutting a shark as a “fuck you” to JAWS, and this is their “no, fuck you” to ORCA. I gotta side with ORCA this time though, it’s a way better movie than JAWS 2. Sorry, JAWS 2. Just tellin it like it is. I’m trying to have an open and honest relationship with you.

(And come on man, we’re not stupid. We all read the scientific journals. We all know there’s at least one case where an orca in California killed a shark, ate its liver and scared the other 100 or so sharks in the area so bad they all turned tail and hauled ass to Hawaii like a bunch of tadpoles.)

Brody’s son Michael is a teen now (the new actor jumped ahead 5 years in age), so there’s a whole bit about horny kids trying to go boating together, and sneaking out when they’re grounded, and all that type of teenage shit. More like a summer camp slasher movie.

When the shit hits the fan Brody does try to call Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss’s character) but he’s out to sea where radio can’t afford him. Er, I mean reach him. So it’s a solo act this time. So it’s kind of like a band playing without all the original members.

The filmatism is better than I expected, though. They try to re-create Spielberg’s naturalistic approach, his atmospheric sound design, and they got John Williams back on the music. But it’s not that fun to watch a rehash with the best parts taken out. It has an approximation of the basic monster thriller elements but it leaves out some of the extra things that made JAWS different. I mean what is JAWS without all the tension and the camaraderie between those three men on the boat? That’s the part of the story they don’t retread: the best part. I guess it could be even worse if they tried to do some equivalent to Quint’s classic U.S.S. Indianapolis speech, but still. You notice the difference. Less greatness, more teens in peril. It’s a good way to show why JAWS was so special.

And this one’s not special at all, but as far as sequels that shouldn’t exist go it does have a couple enjoyable parts. My favorite would have to be when Jaws 2 is attacking a woman in a boat. She tries to bash him on the sharkhead with the nearest heavy object, which happens to be a big tank of gas. And you’re not gonna believe the bad luck she has but she ends up spilling the gas all over the place. And then she tries to fire a flare at the shark and, well, you can guess how that backfires. What’s great is the shark catches on fire too. Then the boat explodes into a big fireball, and you see it from the point of view of an old lady watching the whole thing from her porch. That’s the beauty of these houses with ocean views. If a shark catches on fire you’re gonna be there to see it.

So Jaws 2 has burns on his face. This could be why he continues being an asshole for the rest of the movie. Facial mutilation like that can really mess people or sharks up, like the Phantom of the Opera or Two Face for example. The injuries scar their psyches as much as their skin. Jaws 2 might not be hungry, he might be lashing out in anger over his disfigurement. He’s asking God (who looks like an old shark with a long white beard) why me? Why do I have to suffer? How unlucky does an underwater creature such as myself have to be in order to catch on fire? I mean what are the chances? I don’t stick my head out of the water that often. He’s confused and he’s depressed and he’s not getting any answers, so he eats a helicopter.

So I give him credit for the scarring and for taking out a helicopter, even if GRIZZLY beat him to that one. Also I gotta give credit to Ann Dusenberry, the actress who played the young blond girl. Her portrayal of being in shock and barely able to speak was surprisingly credible.

Roy Scheider of course gives it his all, does a good job again and at least gets some tender moments with his wife (Loraine Gary also returning). But he must’ve felt like kind of a chump going through all that again. I bet some of the thrill was gone the second time. But maybe I’m projecting.

The director was Jeannot Szwarc. Like Spielberg he started as mostly a TV director, doing episodes of “Night Gallery” and some TV movies and stuff. Unlike Spielberg he went on to direct SUPERGIRL and SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE and now is back to just doing TV episodes.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 14th, 2010 at 1:29 am and is filed under Monster, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

92 Responses to “Jaws 2”

  1. lol, funny review (most are funny but noting cos more witticisms per square inch than usual).

    I was eager for this review cos I thought you’d really dig Jaws 2, but I guess not so much. Perhaps watching em all in a row is the killer as I showed my wife all 4 Jaws movies in a row a few months back and she bailed out emtionally from the series at about 3/4 through number 2. Though that’s mebbe watching all of anything in short order as first viewing. I watched all 8 Puppetmaster movies in a row 3 days ago and in retrospect, I’ve not been so sure it was a fair way to view them against the vitriol generated. Though I got the sense that you didn’t rewatch Jaws when reusing that review so in fact this sounds like a pretty fresh viewing. As you got so much disconnect time to think of jokes in number 2, I gotta say I’m lookin forward to reading 3 and 4 cos you got about 190 minutes of joke thinking time coming up.

  2. Vern – You heard that story that Spielberg wanted to do a prequel, but set on the U.S.S. Indiapolis about Quint’s fight for survival?

    I like that alleged anecdote that he himself in a bath tub typed out a 1st draft script to pitch Universal, who wouldn’t wait until he was done with his CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.

  3. Someone told me years ago that they’d been talking to Kevin Smith and he had an idea for a JAWS sequel. They wouldn’t go into great detail, but said that the idea basically ignored all the other sequels and pretended they didn’t happen; that the main character was Matt Hooper; and that it involved Hooper returning to Amity Island for Brody’s funeral (Brody apparently was just supposed to have died of old age, not get blown up in Seaworld in Florida in 3-D—like I said, other sequels didn’t happen) and his return coincided with a fresh wave of shark attacks. But what struck the guy I talked too was that Smith’s take on it was–he said it reminded him of Wrath Of Khan, somewhat, in the sense of the main tone of the story being one of nostalgia and aged characters looking back on the past.

    Could have been interesting….

  4. Chief Brody didn’t get blown up at Sea World. He died peacefully in between Jaws 3D and Jaws: The Revenge.

    And Vern, why no Bruce icon? Are you saying the radio couldn’t afford to get Bruce the Shark back either?

  5. Hilarious review – appropriate for a movie like this, which has that trashy / enjoyable vibe all about it – sure, it’s stupid, and contrived, and all kinds of sloppy, and you can virtually see Scheider’s distaste for the material in every frame (although, since the man was a pro, he doesn’t tank the picture – he still tries to sell it). Every time that J2 comes by, I usually watch a few minutes, probably because it carries just enough of a whiff of the classic original to put me in an agreeable frame of mind.

    Now, Jaws the Revenge – hooooooo boy, is that an ENTIRELY different story. The one and only time I watched that, I can only imagine that the expression on my face was something like total incredulity – how such a thing was ever conceived, much less created, is mind-boggling. Can’t wait for the review on that one.

  6. I remember liking this as a kid, but mainly because I thought it was neat that they made a sequel in the first place (I was unaware of 3 and 4)

    I re watched it on tv once maybe 3 years ago or so and I was not impressed, granted it’s the best of the Jaws sequels, but that’s not saying much

  7. RRA, I’ve heard about the legendary U.S.S. Indianapolis plot before

    part me kinda wishes it would be made, but only by the beard himself

  8. I’m seeing Jaws again tonight, I’m seeing Jaws 2 again never

  9. Vern should play and review the cut scenes in the Jaws Unleashed game for PS2: “YOU…ARE…THE…SHARK”.
    Check out the anti-orca action at 0:39: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5zazXN1MmA.
    Looks like Carmaggedeon in the water.

  10. Man, Jaws 2 really isn’t seeming so good. Forgive me for what might be blasphemous, but perhaps the issue is with the villain. Sure, the shark is great in Jaws – an unfeeling, relentless killing machine, that shit is terrifying for sure.

    But how long can you keep that interesting. There can be no depth (HIYO!), texture, its tough to relate to the shark. Maybe if we had some backstory about how some fishermen killed his mother or something like from Bambi, we could sympathize and say “Hey, maybe this shark isn’t so crazy after all, maybe these bastards deserve it” Who knows, maybe we’ll get that in the next one.

    And was it one of the Jaws sequels where they’re building the underwater hotel, or is that some other unrelated killer shark flick?

  11. Vern should also ride the Jaws Ride at Universal Studios and write a review of that

  12. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Bob Vila: The backstory and character motivation (for the whale) that you are looking for can be found in ORCA. Vern described it as the Charles Bronson of killer whale movies.

    ORCA also has Charlotte Rampling, which makes everything better.

  13. The shark has motivation in JAWS 3D. The humans sharknap her (in the third one Bruce is a girl) kid and it dies, so she destroys their entire theme park. Personally I think they had it coming.

    And then of course there’s JAWS: THE REVENGE, which I think is self-explanatory. I can’t fucking wait for that review.

  14. Man, I pity poor Vern to go through JAWS 3 and 4.

    I especially like in #3 alot of those obviously 3-D friendly FX shots, Louis Gossett Jr. just out of place in this paycheck after winning his Oscar, and Dennis Quaid………..WAIT HE’S IN THIS? Why? Same year he also did DREAMSCAPE. That one was good.

    Also people looking at an aquarium when….perfect timing….decapitated head floats and lands on the floor. I hope they got a refund.

    Less said about JAWS 4 the better. I mean what else can be said that already has been mentioned?

    I’m surprised honestly ole Sid Sheinberg didn’t get fired for producing an unnecessary, unwanted sequel simply to give his wife a theatrical vehicle. Good thing Spielberg saved his hide all those times. Out of loyalty I suppose.

  15. I think we can’t ignore the fact that AU watched ALL 8 PUPPETMASTER MOVIES IN A ROW. Why does somebody do that to themselves? And what did you learn about the series?

  16. Wait a second. How come I’ve never heard of that Jaws Unleashed game!? (Maybe it was one of these games that never made it to my country because of the violence.)

  17. CJ, it is pretty violent. You have to fucking bite the shit out of “bathers” like a hundred times before they die, at which point there are little chunks of people chum floating in the water (which you can also bite, I believe).

    I never got through the aquarium level, though. I think I’m missing something. Anybody got any tips?

  18. “All the Jaws sequels suck” is not the most revelatory statement ever, but I actually kinda like part 2. Back before the term “DTV sequel” existed, I had a real soft spot for the studio’s cheap attempts to squeeze more bucks out of the public with movies like this one, 2010, Exorcist 2, Grease 2, Staying Alive etc. I like that this one is the teenage slasher movie of the Jaws series. And it has genuinely effective moments, like the part where the girl sacrifices herself for the little brother (“I can’t get up!”) and gets swallowed whole.

    Anyway if you were not a fan of this one Vern I have to warn you that the next two are much much worse. Not even worth your time. Looking forward to the reviews tho.

  19. Brody survived Jaws 3D?! So the other kids lied to me! I will admit, I’ve never actually seen it. (Even as an eleven year old, I had zero interest in the Jaws sequels.) I did sneak into part of Jaws: The Revenge a few years later and got kicked out by the ushers for laughing so hard.

    I’ve also seen parts of Jaws 2 on tv, which just felt like some kind of weird parody of Jaws…

  20. Re: Jaws the Revenge

    Man, the more I think about it, the more the sheer awful nuttiness of it just gives me a kind of thrill.

    In no way, shape, or form is it a good movie — but it takes a lot of people to pull off even a terrible cinematic production, and it’s just amazing that at no point during the *ahem* creative process of this one did no one stand up in a script or production meeting and say, “Excuse me…the main plot point of this movie is WHAT? The shark has a vendetta against the Brody family and FOLLOWS THEM TO THE CARRIBEAN? WHAT?!?”

    The only way it could’ve remotely worked is if they’d gone completely off the map and taken the SF route, kind of like Deep Blue Sea.

    Any shark movie is going to suffer by comparison to Jaws 1 of course – but even though Renny Harlin is one of Hollywood’s premier hacks, I’ve gotta say that Deep Blue worked pretty well for me overall, even though it did feature a newspaper headline that read “TEST SHARK ESCAPES,” which kinda reminded me of the “MONKEY BREAKS LEG” headline from the Curious George books I was read as a kid.

  21. CC, Brody wasn’t even in JAWS 3D. I think his rapidly aging kids (they’re now in their late twenties/early thirties, even though the movie was made only eight years after the first one) mention him in one scene, but that’s it. Then you learn at the beginning of the fourth one that he died of a heart attack or something, at which point his kids have stayed roughly the same age (although they’re played by different actors) and completely changed careers.

  22. I have a small soft spot for JAWS: THE REVENGE, not because of any redeeming features that may or may not exist, but because I saw it on TV when I was 6 or 7 and I’m pretty sure [SPOILER] the jr. Brody’s death was the first time I ever saw someone get killed in a film; certainly the first time I saw real gore. Is it fucked up to have a soft spot because of that? Ah well, I can live with it.

  23. The third one is pretty hilarious. To think they went from the reverse dolly shot and the shark POV of the first film to having a matte shot freeze frame of the happy dolphins jumping up in unison. Ta-daaaa!That image cracked me up when I first saw it. Couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

  24. I have very little memories of watching JAWS 2, otehr then some vague rememberences about an helicopter being sunken because the shark bitted one of the floaters, and that it was killed becasue it was goaded to bite a big electrical cable (SPOILER).

    As for Orcas, they do eat sharks. their favorite morsels are seals, but the has been found Orcas with sharks in their stomachs. The Orcas does love them some shark.

  25. VERN — I’d like to refer you to Mr. M’s above post — why no “BRUCE” icon for the shark?

  26. I have to say, I very much like Jaws 2, and even though J1 is clearly superior as art in every way, I’ve always thought J2 had a lot going for it–enough to be a worthy sequel and (despite the director’s dismissive comments–and whose films aren’t being shown in film school now??) even a loving and respectful salute to the first movie.

    Many thoughts in favor of the film.

    1.) They finally got the shark to work, and it looks (for the time and tech involved) great to fantastic. Even before half its face burns off.

    2.) John Williams’ score has long been recognized among scorebuffs to be arguably superior to the first movie’s. (I own both, and yep I agree, it is. I’m listening to an iTunes mix of both scores right this moment. {g})

    3.) Most of the principles from the original film are back, both in front of and behind the camera, lending a lot of flavor continuity. That includes the Martha’s Vineyards locations, which were clearly staged and shot in basically the same fashion as the first movie. (Carl Gottlieb’s memoirs on the disastrous filming of the first movie are amazing, btw.)

    4.) The director might have been a pretentious egotist, but the film sure isn’t shot that way. I’d argue it succeeds very well in duplicating the style of J1. The director might have been pissed that someone was insisting he copy Spielberg to the letter, but he did it (minus the mystical sense SS often brings to his work).

    5.) I seem to recall Gottlieb was instrumental in drafting this film, too; if so, that would explain why the film is structured in such a way to make advantages out of its obvious narrative deficits.

    5.1.) The first major deficit is “Good grief, not again, how implausible!” But the film deals with this by outright calling attention to the implausibility, and having Brody start wondering if this means the shark has a vendetta. This is the closest the film comes to bringing in Spielberg’s latent mysticism, and the story doesn’t dwell on it (unlike Jaws 4, which takes this idea and runs screaming off the cliff. The novel’s justification is slightly goofier: this is J1’s mate, though carrying another shark’s spawn, and she’s here to give birth, so she’s eating rapidly and gravid from pregnancy pains.)

    Instead, the story tightens in on Brody’s claustrophobia (and aquaphobia) and increasing isolation. Which nicely solves the other glaring story deficit…

    5.2.) …the lack of the camaraderie of the three amigos. The story not only acknowledges this, but its emotional themes directly call up and play off this lack. Brody is a hero for what he previously did, but no one wants to think about it (since they were complicit in the disaster and it just scares him spitless to remember), so when things start heating up again they naturally don’t want to believe him not only because their town lives or dies based on the tourist trade but also precisely because IT’S SO FREAKING IMPLAUSIBLE!! It’s easier (and more convenient) to just see Brody as having some kind of nervous breakdown, which is helped by his insistence that someone else has got to deal with this (not him) and his increasing panic about the situation. In a great touch, the Mayor constantly goes to bat for him, even though also very reluctant to do so–caught like a mix of Pilate and Joseph of Arimathea. (His sad, sole vote in favor of Brody to keep his job is beautifully staged in the singular style of both films.)

    That theme of isolation carries over to how the film treats Brody’s action out on the water. He doesn’t have a support group of (wildly different kinds of) experts this time. He barely knows how to drive the patrol boat! (Which is a running visual nod to one of his iconic lines from the first film: he doesn’t get a bigger boat but a smaller one! One even less equipped to do battle with any shark at all.) I’ve heard one reviewer I respect mock the way he arrives at the Rock at the end “like a white knight”, but with all due respect that reviewer must have been on some kind of hate-drug. It’s a victory for him to get there not because he’s powerful and bold like a knight but because he’s scared and barely competent–but he’s the only hope those kids can have. (And they were rebelling against him in several ways, so it’s meaningful as an act of love to them.)

    5.3.) Yeah it’s a teen-slasher film setup (in the second half of the movie, if not before–or no moreso than J1 was in its first half), but I thought the teens had some definite chemistry (except, sadly, for the elder Brody. But even his lack of chemistry was kind of realistic. {g}) They behaved just exactly like teens I knew growing up, and still today. And by the way, there are no less than TWO blonde girls in this film who do an outstanding job of being in total shock about what’s happening.

    This relates to making the most positive out of a deficit, too. There are only so many ways to stage a giant shark attack (short of having it leap out of the sky to bite a 747 in half), but aside from superficial similarities (due to the situation being what it is) the attacks in the second half of the film are as different as they can be from the second half of J1.

    6.) I love the pull-a-spectacular-win-out-of-the-ass save in this film even more than the first one. (The same two scenes in Benchley’s novels are much weaker; in J2 the same thing happens practically by accident!!) There’s something I find inspiring about Brody crawling out on an inflatable raft (despite his fears) to taunt the shark into charging him, with the kids pitiably screaming for him to get to safety. “I GOT SOMETHING FOR YOU NOW!!” indeed. The sequence is orchestrated and sold well enough that the first time I saw it I honestly couldn’t figure out how he thought he had a chance of winning.

    Honorable mention goes to how the waterski attack is shot (especially in the accompanying score by JW), and the rigorously intense helicopter rescue sequence. (Bonus points for padding out the film with that but doing so in as tense a fashion as possible. Go Mennonite Helicopter Pilot Officer Go!!!!)

    7.) Relatedly, I love the boatwork in this film; not only the sailboat and catamaran work but (as gushed about previously) the little patrol boat which the deputy is so proud of. It isn’t even big enough to be properly a ‘set’ for the film (unlike the “Orca” from J1), but when I was growing up I would have given ten years of my life to have one. Even a used one like that one clearly was. (Or even better that little patrol helicopter.) Who wants to be an old man anyway?? {g}

    Thus ends my gushingness for Jaws 2.

  27. Also, yes, why no “Bruce” icon for this entry!!? That was genius.

  28. Clearly, I’m not the only guy who loved Captain Amish Yoder’s little patrol helicopter: they feature it twice in the poster! {lol!}

    The capture of Brody firing the revolver (made larger looking thanks to perspective) is ironically great, too, since

    SPOILER

    SPOILER

    SPOILER LOOKAWAY SPOILER the film spends a few scenes showing him secretly haxoring up some mercury-tipped exploding bullets
    SPOILERS FOR GOD’S SAKE TURN AWAY!!! but he ends up wasting them on a school of fish
    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS so that photo of his courageous vengeful wrath is actually one of the saddest in the film

    SPOILER

    SPOILER

  29. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I’m looking forward to the “Bruce” icon for TRON 2 and MY NAME IS BRUCE.

  30. Okay Sabreman, you sold me on JAWS 2. To celebrate I’ll put the Bruce icon on there.

  31. Man, maybe it’s just me, but MY NAME IS BRUCE almost made me take away Bruce Campbell’s lifetime pass. He used to be the guy that you could count on to give every role his all, no matter how silly or small. That’s what made him a legend: His total commitment to utter ridiculousness. But now that he’s an icon, he can make a lazy, unfunny, utterly pointless movie coasting on his rep, knowing that all he has to do is show up and spew a few catchphrases and his fanbase will eat it up. It’s the opposite of striving for excellence. He’s rapidly becoming his generation’s Shatner, which is such a shame after BUBBA HO-TEP showed that he had some real acting chops that went beyond winky-winky self-referential kitsch. I still love the guy (he’s awesome on BURN NOTICE, and he still gives the best commentaries in the business) but he’s got to show a little hustle out there if he wants to win my trust back.

  32. while not seeing MNIB, I have read an amount of make love! the bruce campell way, and given his love/conempt relationship with basement dwellers in that book it sounds like some form of meta humour, vis a vis the showing up spouting a few lines nature of MNIB.

  33. solongyoubastard – Now to be fair, unlike most of those sequels from around that same time that you mentioned…..2010 was pretty good. No not as good as 2001, and I suppose Peter Hyams realized that he was no Kubrick so he made a sequel to his action narrative strengths, and well it works pretty well as an adventure picture. Which you could also frame 2001 as well.

    I mean come on, citing 2010 with JAWS 2 and EXORCIST 2 is just…..well, kinda an insult for a decent movie to be associated with trash. Some which isn’t even fun trash.

    Also EXORCIST 3 kicks ass. So does DOMINION (suck it haters, then swallow!)

  34. RRA, which version of Exorcist 4: Satan’s Baaadaaassss Song is that? I haven’t seen either.

  35. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    But Majestyk, in MY NAME IS BRUCE, when Campbell was coasting on his rep, did he give his all to coasting, or was he coasting in his coasting?

  36. Mr. M – DOMINION is the Paul Schraeder version, aka the GOOD version.

    I mean Schraeder (YAKUZA, TAXI DRIVER, AUTO FOCUS, MISHIMA) versus Harlin (DRIVEN, 12 ROUNDS, MINDHUNTERS, CUTTHROAT ISLAND)…..

    And if anyone shits on the Schrader version, I’ll cut a bitch.

  37. Bruce Campbell is an icon? Look, I loved “Evil Dead 2” as much as anybody here, but I doubt the “man on the street” would know who he was. What Bruce Campbell is is a king amongst geeks. Very different thing, guys.

  38. I’m not talking about the man on the street,. I’m talking about us, the people who care. The man on the street wouldn’t know who Charlie Parker is either, but I’d consider him an icon to people who know fuck-all about jazz. Amongst B-movie actors in general and horror stars in particular, hell yeah, I’d say Bruce Campbell is an icon.

  39. Jareth: His coasting was definitely half-assed. He could have coasted way more excellently.

  40. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    One thing I’ve always wondered: how much credit should we give Campbell for the artistic success of the EVIL DEAD movies? I mean, I enjoy his performances, but is he integral to the success of the films, like how Audrey Tautou is to AMELIE?

  41. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Majestyk: I think we can agree that Bird never coasted, half-assed, full-assed or otherwise.

  42. Absolutely. I mean, he’s the only actor onscreen for most of EVIL DEAD 2. He carries the whole movie on his back. If he hadn’t been completely simpatico with Raimi, that movie would have been a disaster. You want to see how crucial he is? Watch CRIMEWAVE and see how the dude they got to replace him in the lead role butchers every double take, every joke, every payoff. It brings the whole movie down. Then watch how easily Bruce embodies the Raimi tone in his brief cameo. I’d say he’s as important to those early Raimi flicks as Kurt Russell was to his John Carpenter collaborations.

  43. RE: Charlie Parker

    Mr. Majestyk – Unfortunately that’s probably why Eastwood’s BIRD didn’t do shit in theatres or with critics. Or put it another way, how many non-Jazz/Rock* folks even heard of Miles Davis when you had that whole club scene in COLLATERAL?

    Also BIRD came out back in the day when Eastwood didn’t get much credit (if any at all) as a director. Even after winning the Oscar for UNFORGIVEN. Remember folks? Unless my math is wrong, from the 1970s to 1990s he only got to helm 3 movies which didn’t feature himself in the cast. Since 2003, he’s done six (including that upcoming ghost movie with Matt Damon) so that’s good.

    *=I like to think COLLATERAL help put Davis over the hill on his Rock n Roll HOF election. Thanks Mike Mann.

  44. Mr. M – Would DARKMAN had been better if Bruce, instead of Oskar Schindler, had played DARKMAN?

  45. No, probably not. But DARKMAN does have a different tone than the EVIL DEAD movies. It’s still kind of wacky, but it never goes totally slapstick. Neeson’s inherently serious presence keeps it on the rightn side of tongue-in-cheek. My point was more that you couldn’t just replace Bruce with any old schmoe in the ED movies and expect Sam Raimi’s directorial talents to produce the same product. Bruce made a massive contribution.

  46. This is my first post here, so: Hello, everybody, you all make of this site (sight?) a great place.

    I watched the entire Jaws 2 for the last time a helluva years ago, being a little kid and thinking it was a really cool movie and on par with the first one except for the lack of Quint. Anyway, I was under the impression that it was the same shark of the first film: it had a truly awful scar on one side of the mouth, so as to imply the explosion of the air tank had only injured him and now he was back for payback time. Yes, his head had burns thanks to the boat lady, but there was no other explanation for the scar. Am I the only one who thought this, there’s in fact another explanation, it’s all another fugged up childhood recollection…?

    Years later I watched bits of the thing again, and was appalled to find it terrible… specially that scene cutting between all the kids praying (I think Orson Welles said prayers and sex always looked fake on movies, and on prayers he was dead on); I would have laughed my ass off, except for the bitter feeling that comes with accepting what a dumb kid I had been…

    Great review.

  47. caruso_stalker217

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Majestyk:

    Plus, having Liam Neeson as the lead makes it funnier. The scene where he puts a funnel on his head and does a little song and dance number for his cat is a prime example of this.

    And no one can forget: “Take the fucking elephant!”

  48. I also like 2010. 2001 is my favorite movie and 2010 was never going to live up to it, but it does have lots of good things going for it. Arthur C. Clarke thought Hyams did an excellent job, and that has to count for something. I’m still waiting on 2061 and 3001.

    I also thought MY NAME IS BRUCE was a tragic waste of time. I was stoked for that movie based on the synopsis but it turned out waaaaaay worse than I ever could have imagined.

    As for these JAWS sequels, I recently watched PIRANHA and PIRANHA 2 and found them way more fun. Too bad Spielberg never got to make that prequel about Quint on the Indianapolis.

  49. vertigoboy1981

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Orcas and sharks both eat each other. However, Orcas don’t consider Great Whites or larger sharks like that to be food. Sharks as a whole will eat more whales than whales eating sharks..but Orcas & Great Whites don’t have each other on the menu. Both tend to go for animals smaller than themselves.

  50. Guan you, Guan me, Guan Di.
    Thank you for reminding me of “My Name Is Bruce”, folks. It took weeks to get that fucking Guan Di song out of my head and now it’s back.
    (And yes, I agree that the movie was pretty half-assed.)

  51. I think the great failure of the JAWS series is that it kept telling stories about the damn Brody family. They should have gone the HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH “other stories in this world” approach and gone with the main thrust of aggressive aquatic life besieging exotic locales populated with real likeable salt of the earth type characters. Other types of sharks, giant squids, orcas, dolphins with opposable thumbs, you name it.

  52. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Majestyk: You’re probably right about Campbell. I guess I’m thinking of the first EVIL DEAD, which is more of an ensemble. It’s the only one I’ve re-watched in the last 20 years. And I’ve liked Campbell in everything I’ve seen him in, but I haven’t really watched him too closely. It’s sort of like Buscemi; I like him, but don’t notice a lot of variation in what he does (even the roles he’s really praised for, like GHOST WORLD).

    RRA: I was in university when BIRD came out; it was adored by the critics, perhaps even a bit more than it deserved. But yeah, the general public didn’t know shit about it. BIG and BEETLEJUICE were the popular hits that year.

  53. They could have at least tried to go the ALIENS route. JAWSES has a nice ring to it.

  54. RRA… Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply 2010 was not a good movie. I actually feel the same way as you: Hyams took the studio’s attempt to milk more HAL money and made a genuinely thoughtful, intense and action-y sequel that wasn’t trying to one-up or even equal Kubrick but had its own charm and definitely rose above the assignment. I like it a lot. (And I don’t care for Exorcist 2, Grease 2 or Staying Alive for the record – just couldn’t think of other examples off the top of my head.) But I kind of feel the same way about Jaws 2. Besides sharing with 2010 an excellent performance by the great Roy Scheider, if you watch the doc on the dvd, you can tell that Szwarc et al had a great time making the movie and similarly had no intention of doing anything beyond making a fun sequel. I don’t think Szwarc comes off like an “egotist” as Sabreman mentioned (nor do I think the John Williams’ score here is even in the same league as the original film, although it’s very good) but besides that he brings up some good points. Comparing the movie to Joseph of Arimathea is not a way I would have thought of defending Jaws 2, but the movie is well-shot, they clearly got the shark working better, and Brody’s story is a little stronger than the original, although Vern is correct that the three-men-on-a-boat camaraderie is missing. I definitely like it better than Orca, which is unforgivably cheesy in a way this movie isn’t.

    Exorcist 3 is definitely underrated. “See how close we’re standing to each other? I STINK!”

    Majestyk – I was mad because you said the thing about the Bruce icon before I got a chance to. So mad I was going to send some thugs over to your farm to shoot your watermelon crop. But then I read your bit about Bruce Campbell, and it so perfectly sums up the conflicted feelings I’ve had about the guy lately. I just caught the beginning of My Name is Bruce on tv the other night, and it made me so depressed that he’s coasting on his persona instead of doing something else worth his time. But whatever, if he’s cashing checks I guess it’s fine for him.

  55. would schindler’s list have been as good with bruce campell?

  56. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Would MY NAME IS BRUCE have been better with Liam Neeson?

  57. Jareth – Did they? I mean was it like great reviews or like golf polite applause, slap on the back “good job Clint” type of thing? Apparently Forest Whittaker didn’t give enough of a gimmicky performance to get an Oscar nod, as maybe he should have been considered for. Thank you Ide Amin for fixing that problem.

    So yeah, dibs on Eastwood and others of the late 80s who realized Whitaker was fucking great and letting him run with it whenever they could get away with it.

    solongyoubastard – No probs, I just spring to action in the defense of solid cinema. Like the rest of you all would too.

    Speaking of Peter Hyams, as the local Hyamsologist, Vern needs to review fucking OUTLAND and 2010. Or THE RELIC too if he’s on vacation from his job.

  58. …and ignore The Musketeer and Sound of Thunder, which are horrible.

    I think Vern reviewed Timecop, right?

  59. Wow, Brody’s not even in the third one? Hmmm. I suspect the guys who told me this stuff somehow confused the third one with the end of the second film, because they were saying Brody lures the shark to bite something then it blows them both up–a la the electric cable in Jaws 2. It was around the time Jaws: The Revenge came out, and even Junior High age kids were like, “What? They made another one?! Enough of this shit!” Well, like I said, I’ve never seen any of the sequels apart from a few scenes of 2 and 4. And as far as I’m concerned, really, they’re the same as Alien3, Alien: Resurrection, Alien Vs. Predator, Alien Vs. Predator 2….interesting in sort of an alternate universe, speculative, what if way, but they just aren’t part of the real story. The true Aliens continuity ends with the last shot of ALIENS (unless Ridley Scott comes up with something good in his return to the franchise); similarly, the story of JAWS ends with Hooper and Brody swimming back to Menemshah.

    Again, if somebody ever can make that Indianapolis story with a young Quint in WWII (which has potential–Micheal Fassbender as Quint!!!) or a decent sequel that takes the Kevin Smith “ignore-the-earlier-sequels” approach, then the narrative can be extended, but really….JAWS is a). such a perfect, singular story that any attempt to continue it is bound to just feel like it cheapens it; and b). to really feel like a fitting sequel to JAWS it would have to be on the level of an ALIENS or GODFATHER II or EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. And those just don’t come along that easily. I’d say the Indianapolis prequel is the best bet.

  60. Actually no. But he did review the other Hyams/Van Damme collaboration SUDDEN DEATH. That was a pretty good DIE HARD clone.

    Another Hyams effort to review: CAPRICORN ONE. Quite decent 1970s conspiracy thriller, a product of its time but that’s sorta the charm. I mean this is the only time anyone can accuse putting the words “NASA” and “assassins” in the same sentence together.

    Of course I’m one of…ok probably the only one who thought his BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT remake was OK. Everybody else was screaming for Razzie honors, but man BEYOND at least is (potentially) a more respectable career-ending movie for director Hyams than fucking fried gold like A SOUND OF THUNDER. Not saying much, but I had to say it.

    (Also yeah MUSKATEER isn’t worth watching, though I must say the Hong Kong fight choreography used on of all things a Three Muskateers adventure was fun but not enough. On the Tim Roth filmography, this is PLANET OF THE APES-esque. )

  61. CC – Or how about instead…”Not every movie needs a sequel.”

    In that regard, I guess JAWS is the HIGHLANDER of ocean horror movies.

    There shoulda just been one.

  62. As I recall JAWS 2 had a few fun set-pieces. The helicopter has been mentioned, as has the swallowing whole “Ugh- I can’t get up” bit, the water-skier explosion, and the finale (Anything with a “Shark-Taunting” scene is on the right track). I also like the attempt at a Spielbergian type set piece with the gag where the sail boat is in the center, the kid is swimming back to it from one side and the shark is closing in from the other “Oh God Eddie Swim!”

    But if I remember right, the Para-sailing False scare was a disappointing cocktease. I understand the need for building some tension with a couple well-placed false scares and what not. But if you set up that scenario, that’s one you gotta pay the fuck off with a para-sailor bitten off below the waist or a coy fish-stealing-the-worm-off-the-hook reveal of an empty para-sail emerging from the water. Just sayin. Fuck para-sailors I guess is what I’m getting at.

  63. I’m going with the half-a-para-sailor gag. The torso could trail intestines behind it like a kite tail.

  64. And as for Hyams, his remake of “Narrow Margin” is a serviceable sick in bed with a fever one afternoon kinda movie. Would’ve said the same about Running Scared, but I watched it recently and realized it’s one those (like every Robin Williams movie) that will be lead to our kids and grandkids one day asking us “So, your generation thought this Billy Crystal guy was funny?… And that he could play a cop?”

  65. But he wore a T-shirt with tits on it! Comic gold!

  66. Indeed, Mr. M. And raining down intestines on the beach “bathers.” With Murray Hamilton running around to everybody saying don’t worry, everything’s cool.

  67. The Giggler – I dunno, I thought RUNNING SCARED was a decent execution of the Buddy Cop formula at its zenith. Kinda like how THE RELIC was a good dumb fun monster thriller. I mean shit James Whitmore of THEM! wasn’t casted because he was in SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

    Also Gregory Hines acted in that one episode of AMAZING STORIES which Hyams directed. See, I am the definitive Hyamsologist around here.

    Vern – review that Gregory Hines actioneer EVE OF DESTRUCTION sometime. Yes someone thought Hines could be an action hero.

  68. They should have tried to make Hines an action star GYMKATA-style by letting his use his tapdancing skills to kick ass.

  69. Mr. M – I can see that movie, imagine that trailer.

    “When he finds you, he won’t walk all over you. He will dance all over you. He is THE TAPPER!”

  70. “This summer, Gregory Hines will tap that ass.”

  71. Yeah RRA, I get ya. And there are things that I like in Running Scared quite a bit too. Smits, Fluegel, Bauer, Hedaya, Pantoliano, Gries, Calfa. That’s a rogues gallery of some great 80s character actors. And Hyams executes it well. I like that it gets pretty violent here and there. And like a lotta folks, I probably watched it on cable 200 times growing up. But when I watched it recently, Crystal just made me want to jump out of a window.

  72. Giggler – Crystal can really be fucking annoying when he’s too much into his neurotic insecure Woody Allen bullshit. Like those cowboy movies he did. So yeah I get ya mate.

    Plus maybe I’m kinder to RUNNING SCARED after some months back I watched Hyams’ THE PRESIDIO.

    Wow that fucking sucked. the same director made that? Damn.

    And in the Hyams crap-pie I would add STAY TUNED, but some folks at another website got mad at me for dissing it. I’ll give this: John Ritter was stuck with shit and himself and his charm nearly redeemed it. Nearly.

  73. Wait wait wait… a prequel with Quint in Indianopolis?

    Is that some kind of bizarre fish-out-of-water story?

    (Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.)

    And I think the Evil Dead movies needed Bruce Campbell as much as Bruce Campbell needed them. Who else could’ve pulled off “Who’s laughing now?” with the amount of subtlety and nuance that Bruce managed?

  74. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    RRA: In 1988 the most ecstatic reviews went to RAIN MAN (a movie I despise) but many of the critics with serious weight behind their opinion – like The New Yorker or Village Voice – gave thoughtful, extremely positive reviews to BIRD. How could they not? The film tastefully commemorates a key figure in the preferred aesthetic playground of the literati (ie. jazz); this sort of validation always gets good press from the eggheads. If BIRD had one major fault, it’s that it had none of the irreverence and danger that Parker himself brought to his chosen field. But to his credit, Eastwood doesn’t lay the drug stuff on too heavy, and Ghost Dog was great.

    Of course no one expected it to break records at the box office, so the praise was more sober, as is often the case when a great film has no hope of making money, like last year’s excellent THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES.

    But I maintain that it was the critical success of BIRD that paved the way for the triumph of UNFORGIVEN. BIRD was the film where the phrase “Directed by Clint Eastwood” stopped causing whiplash in the minds of the critics.

  75. Why the hate toward RAIN MAN?

  76. Paul – The story (allegedly) goes that in 1976-77, Spielberg with God power given to him after JAWS could do what he wanted and thus he cashed in his chips with WATCH THE SKIES (which would evolve into CLOSE ENCOUNTERS). At the same time he had that prequel idea he wanted to do to, told Universal to wait and let him finish CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and then he’ll do the JAWS sequel/prequel.

    Well Universal didn’t, plus maybe they were mad that CEO4K was at Columbia instead of at the Globe.

    At least that’s the story. For all we know, and probably what really happened, Spielberg had a faint notion of an idea for that prequel but he decided to do CEO4K instead and well he was too busy to do anything more with it and JAWS 2 got made and so forth.

    Jareth Cutestory – Sounds about right. Thanks. Eastwood is a rather conservative cinema narrative storyteller. A rather good one at that, but still.

  77. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Brendan: I don’t want to get all Phil Donahue on you, but when you’ve got an autistic family member, it’s hard to see the manner in which Hoffman’s character in RAIN MAN was written as anything but insulting.

    More objectively, I don’t think RAIN MAN contributes anything to either the “fish-out-of-water” story or the “unlikely buddies” picture, except to lazily enact the rituals of these formulas in the most trite, manipulative way possible.

    Also, I think Tom Cruise is the worst thing to happen to movies after Michael Bay. Obviously opinions vary on that.

    RRA: I think Eastwood is a really good film-maker, and it’s possible that Charlie Parker was better served by a solid, conventional film than by some nutty, experimental art film. At least Glenn Gould got his THIRTY TWO SHORT FILMS. With Eastwood’s film you never doubt the sincerity of purpose behind the project, even if it did unwittingly contribute to the museum-ification of jazz. But nothing was going to stop that from happening anyway.

  78. Bad news, guys. Indianapolis movie has been done:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102455/

    I have an idea for a legitimate way to do a JAWS sequel. Actually, it’s just a shark-based movie with a solid McGuffin to justify the premise, one that presumably would recapture some of the magic that’s been missing since the first film. But they could slap JAWS V on it a a selling point if they really wanted to.

    They can call it SANTA CLAUS VS THE MARTIANS 2, as long as they pay me.

  79. I remember that. It was a TV movie, I believe, so the shark action was pretty limited.

    It’s too bad Hollywood has a strict policy against making two movies telling the same story or even using the same title. Otherwise they could just go ahead and make another S.S. Indianapolis movie with a bigger budget and better shark attacks. Unfortunately, Quint would have to be CGI since there are absolutely zero young actors nowadays who are even half that salty. Stacey Keach can come back, though.

  80. Jareth Cutestory

    May 16th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    For your consideration: S.S. INDIANAPOLIS: THE MUPPETS. Dr. Teeth as Quint.

  81. It’s about time Dr. Teeth got his chance to try a dramatic role. He could be the Bill Murray of the Muppets.

  82. frankbooth – I remember back in the late 1990s how Universal at one point or another dreamed up a JAWS 5, which would have served as a vehicle for Richard Dreyfuss, manning his own boat ORCA II, still scarred by that whole Amity Island incident as he is called in with new wave of shark attacks.

    That movie could easily have been really quite lousy or surprisingly decent. Maybe multiple sharks?

    It’s almost like how Gene Hackman and FRENCH CONNECTION 3 in the 90s almost happened too, and I would have loved to see that one. I mean how would racist/hardass/psychotic Popeye Doyle, a child of the 1970s, deal with the 1990s P.C. America? Not well I would assume.

    Of course that could easily have sucked too since he probably would have been scripted to team up with a new pretty face guy and we would have had THE ROOKIE again.

    Wow, THE ROOKIE. How can Clint Eastwood go from directing that utter piece of shit worthless movie to UNFORGIVEN? Amazing.

  83. “It’s too bad Hollywood has a strict policy against making two movies telling the same story or even using the same title.”

    They do? Don’t tell Russell and Ridley.

    Unless you’re being facetious.

  84. The problem with an Indianapolis movie is that it’s just the story of a massacre, guys floating around helplessly and watching their buddies die. It’s horrible, but with no real opportunity for heroism, unless they contrive for the hero find a way to take out all the sharks and save the rest of the men. “What’s that you’re clinging to, cookie? A barrel of cayenne pepper? Good God, man, that’s it! Dump it in the water! Sharks HATE cayenne pepper!”

  85. Didn’t Clint only do THE ROOKIE as a means to an end for (the same year’s) WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART? At any rate I’d say WHBH is around the same (high) level as UNFORGIVEN, so I don’t find the turnover that astounding.

  86. i love gabrielle anwar on Burn Notice, she is a great leading lady,:,

  87. “It’s too bad Hollywood has a strict policy against making two movies telling the same story or even using the same title.”

    HEEHEEHEEHEEHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAHAAAAAA *cough*.

    That’s the most I’ve laughed all day, thanks Majestyk!

  88. Jareth – I’m not a huge Cruise fan either, but he was bloody fantastic in the original “Mission: Impossible”. He didn’t do so badly in “Magnolia” either, although I don’t think he deserved the Oscar (good thing he didn’t win it either then!)

    Second the Gabrielle Anwer love, she was probably the best thing about “Scent of a Woman” and I liked her throughout “Revenge of the Bodysnatchers”. But then I’m a big sucker for that kind of horror flick anyway – heck, I thought the last “Invasion” film was fun, albeit extremely flawed.

  89. Paul, you just seconded an off-topic spambot.

  90. Meh, topics and human beings are for wusses. Off-topic spambots are where the action is nowadays.

  91. Caught in on TV today. If you ask me, as soon as the kids crash their boats together, it becomes a pretty good movie!

  92. Paul – I realize that it is literally seven years later (to the week!) but that was pretty funny.

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