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There’s no question that the original JAWS is a masterpiece (Check out my MOVIE A DAY review of JAWS for more on that). It seemed only logical that audiences would clamor for more and Universal would want to cash in on a sequel. Of course it’s a bit of a problem when (SPOILER ALERT) the shark was blown to bits at the end of the first film. 

Given those parameters, the filmmakers did a pretty darn good job with JAWS 2. Obviously not nearly as good as the first one, it does a respectable job continuing the story of Chief Brody (RoyScheider) and the beleaguered residents of Amity Island. 

Taking place a number of years after the events of the original, Amity has appeared to thrown off the shackles of being known as a human chum bucket for a visiting great white shark. Summer vacationers are back in droves and all seems right in the world. 

That is until another shark decides to take over where the last one left off and “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…” it isn’t. Unfortunately this time the evidence isn’t as compelling and Chief Brody, still scarred from his first encounter with a 25ft. carcharadon carcharias, comes off as the boy who cried wolf and nobody is too keen on believing him. 

Matters go from bad to worse when his sons Mike (Mark Gruner) and Sean (Marc Gilpin) sneak off to go sailing with their group of friends and the great white sees them as a grand buffet. 

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc (SOMEWHERE IN TIME, SUPERGIRL), the movie is serviceable but lacks that extra bit of charm that Spielberg brought to the party. John Williams is back with his signature score as well as adding new themes that expand the sonic landscape. Also back are a number of the characters from the original. 

JAWS 2 feels like a proper sequel and it’s quite entertaining. Some complain that it’s a rehash, but I disagree. It has some of the tropes of the original, but it has legitimate plot that makes sense given the events of the past. 

My only complaint is that this shark is absurdly aggressive at times even taking out a helicopter in one memorable sequence. But the shark FX are vastly improved and some of the attacks are pretty harrowing, matching and at times, surpassing the original. 

JAWS 2 deserves a lot more credit than it’s given and having not watched it for the better part of a decade, I was generally surprised at how much I enjoyed it especially coming off of just watching the original. 

BTW: Fear not, you won’t be hearing the same enthusiasm from me when I rewatch and review JAWS 3 (1983). And don’t get me started on JAWS 4 – THE REVENGE (1987). I think I have a better chance of over coming my fear of the ocean (thanks to JAWS) than my fear of rewatching that movie.

APRIL 23, 2014

JAWS 2 (1978)