Jaws 2 (1978)
Starring: Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton
Writers: Carl Gottlieb, Howard Sackler, Peter Benchley (characters)
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
****Just when you thought it was safe to read a Jaws 2 review... SPOILERS like a motherfucker****
Four years have passed since Bruce attacked Amity Island and got blown the fuck up. Now, there's another big ass shark fishin' for humans. Sheriff Brody aint having it. Amity Island- It's got a death curse!
Wow, there was all kinds of drama going on during the making of this flick. Tons of script rewrites with stories ranging from a Jaws prequel (Involving Quint's story of the USS Indianapolis. Sounds fucking awesome to me) to a subplot dealing with the mafia. Director replacements, fights, a lengthy production, and so on. I think it came out alright. Jaws 2 is a slasher sequel in a lot of ways. Example- Brody, Quint, and Hooper from the first film were solid. Here, that kind of chemistry doesn't exist. The characters are mostly a bunch of young, dumb and full of cummers, fairly vague in the personality department. They're given just enough to decide whether you think they are okay or not. One thing's certain among most of them; they wanna sail, party and hook up. That being said, Brody is really fleshed out, and the character is going through a bit more this time around. When it comes down to it, this movie is all about Brody at battle- with himself, with a town whom doesn't believe him, and ultimately with another pissed off as fuck shark... Bruce Two.
Now, the novelization of Jaws 2 treats the shark as a female- furthermore, being Bruce's mate. From what I've read, this is fucking preposterous because sharks don't choose mates, but hey, whatever. Unfortunately they don't really tap into this in the film, but there is the idea that Bruce Two is out for revenge. It would appear so. But then there's the whole 'Brody killed Bruce 4 fucking years ago' thing, so the “mate” deal doesn't quite add up. Or it could just be an entirely unrelated shark coincidentally attacking Amity Island. Or maybe Amity Island really does have a death curse! That sounds fucking awesome.
Jaws 2 may not be up to par to its predecessor in any respect, but it's got a lot of its own admirable qualities. Director Jeannot Szwarc sure as hell knows how to shoot an action sequence, and he wasn't exactly under the easiest of conditions during the production of this film. Underwater cam, as well as overhead chopper cam look incredible. The shark POV during the water skiing chase is fucking epic, and the work put into that scene is too awesome to even attempt to describe. Also, the behind the fin cam shots were done by strapping a cowboy saddle to the shark while a camera man rode it filming with a hand held. What? Yes.
Key favorite moments:
- Bruce Two scopin' the town out. Some straight "Michael Myers peeping behind trees and in the shadows" type shit.
- Another good Bruce Two "creeper" moment.
- I never grow tired of ass cam.
- Actor Gary Dubin was strapped in a harness and pulled by a rope to make this madness happen. Dude didn't even know how to swim. Epic.
- The shot was basically captured by last second luck. One of the final takes of the day.
Onto acting. As I mentioned earlier, you won't be getting to know the lot of this group, so let's talk about the late Roy Scheider first. He fucking kills it. Maybe being in the mode of not wanting to do a sequel helped, along with fighting with Szwarc. Brody is broken down and rebuilt by Scheider about midway. The first act of Jaws 2 largely consists of Bruce Two being all stealthy, while Brody begins feeling that another shark is upon Amity Island. Once he's certain that there is INDEED a shark, the town takes him as crazy, and it pisses him straight off. Brody gets fired and goes on a binge. Long story short- Brody has to transition first thing next morning, once he realizes that his oldest son went out sailing against his wishes... along with his younger brother... while Bruce Two is lurking around fixin' to get all next level 'n shit. Scheider doesn't skip a beat. He's so fucking fun to watch and the heated back story of this film's production makes his performance all the more impressive. RIP Roy. Let's give a little love to Sheriff Brody...
Great Brody Faces:
- Brody's "I think there's a new shark in town" face.
- Brody's "What the fuck!? There's a corpse jumping out of the water on top of me!" face.
- Brody's "I'm tellin' you that's a goddamn shark in that photograph!" face.
- Brody's "C'mon, Bruce Two, you motherfucker!" face.
Bonus Brody Greatness:
- Brody running through the crowded beach waving his gun like a fucking lunatic. Which leads to...
- This simple but fantastic moment where youngest son Sean (Marc Gilpin) comes to help his Dad collect his bullet shells from the sand.
Jaws 2 isn't completely void of character chemistry. There's a few endearing moments with Lorraine Gary and Scheider as wife and husband, but there certainly could have been more. Scheider is also given some fairly comical moments with the totally fun Jeff Kramer, once again as Deputy Jeff Hendricks --who wasn't worked into Jaws 2 until Swzarc took the director's chair. Likewise, Scheider has some great scenes with the late Murray Hamilton --who was going through some really harsh times during filming-- and Joseph Mascolo. And then, the youngsters. There's actually no bad performances coming from any of them. It's just like I said earlier; they're all pretty vague.
Favorites Characters (Aside from Brody):
- Tina, aka Miss Amity (Ann Desenberry). Good grief, hot.
- The 'Old Man of the Sea'. He's tired and hungry. That's all.
- Mike Brody's bestie, Andy (Gary Springer). Dude just seems like a big lovable bundle of fucking fun.
- These dudes. On the right you got Napoleon Dynamite and on the left you got Keith Gordon (Back to School, Christine)!
- This kid. That sandwich must have been fucking AMAZING.
Least Favorite Characters:
- I never understood the guys of Amity's infatuation with Jackie (Donna Wilkes). She was alright I guess. Seemed kinda bitchy and Miss Amity was way more attractive and bubbly.
- Mike Brody (Mark Gruner). Whiniest character in the film. And this scene... seriously?
"Sean's out there. He wanted to come! That's okay, wasn't it!?" - Mike
"Well, Mike, seeing how I had previously grounded you but you went out sailing anyway, with your younger brother, no... it's not fucking okay!" - Me saying what I wanted Brody to say.
Being PG rated like its predecessor, Jaws 2 isn't a very gory flick, but the killer whale carcass prop looks pretty damn ghastly. Mouth all chewed out and leaking shit from its stomach. Yikes. Most of the kill scenes are underwater, off camera or from behind the shark, leaving the death to the imagination. Bruce Two looks fucking nuts, though. During the ski chase, he/she gets burnt, being left with a Phantom of the Opera vibe. There were three different sharks made for various sequences. Knowing that the first film's element of surprise couldn't be recaptured, the crew shows this new monster in copious amounts --ahem, much like a slasher sequel. While the first half of the film is a lot of build up, the final hour is flat out bonkers. Bruce Two has these kids and their sailboats right where he/she wants them, so the attacks become more plentiful and insane. Seriously, this beast takes out a fucking helicopter --a replica built to reduce weight. 'Nuff said.
John Williams' film score absolutely kills- very adventure based much like the first film. The music behind the sailing/water balloon fight makes me want to fucking sail and have a water balloon fight. Yeah. I love the little ditty that plays during the beach vacationing scene, too. Lastly, the chase themes are once more, awesome.
- DUMBEST. SHIT. EVER.
Ultimately, Jaws 2 is a worthy sequel. It manages to have that 'stand on its own' quality, and I love the more stalk and slash aspect of it. Nowhere near as epic as the original, but definitely fun in its own right.