With this being 4th of July week and all the tar balls from the BP spill scaring people away from the beaches, I thought I would spend the week covering other reasons to scare you away from the beaches. This is Shark week. Jaws 2 is currently available on instant Netflix.
PASS: Jaws 2 (1978) – Rated PG.
“Just as Amity Island begins to rebound from a spate of deadly shark attacks, a pair of missing divers and a boating accident lead police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) to suspect the worst, but his warnings go ignored by the mayor (Murray Hamilton). Sure enough, another great white lurks in the local waters, this time with its sights set on a group of sailing teens — including Brodys two sons. Jeannot Szwarc directs this blockbuster sequel.”
“I think we have got another shark problem.”
Well in the true fashion of sequels, they immediately up the body count. Instead of a lone swimmer, we have a pair of divers biting it in the first scene. The mysterious beach discovery this time are whale remains instead of human (to show that the Jaws 2 shark is bigger and better than Bruce from Jaws).
Having only one leg of the Roy Scheider / Robert Shaw / Richard Dreyfuss triangle really hurts Jaws 2. They should have spent the money to bring in at least one more name actor. Instead they spend a fair amount of the running time focusing on the Brody kids as well as some related teens.
Roy Scheider is just fine here as Sheriff Brody although his performance is clearly inferior to the same role he played in Jaws. They appeared to try and beef up the role of Ellen Brody for Lorraine Gary although she does not get to fight the shark of course.
Murray Hamilton reprises his role as Mayor Vaughn. He was just fine as the worried-about-the-wrong-things Mayor in Jaws but his role here does not ring true. He acts like the events of the previous film did not occur. It really reminds me of the characters in 24 who apparently are incapable of learning anything from what happened in previous seasons.
To pad out the running time between shark attacks and before the final confrontation, the writers just give us Sheriff Brody as the boy who cried wolf. The script works fine for hitting the numbers but loses most of the magic that Jaws had. It is co-written by Carl Gottlieb (Jaws) and Howard Sackler. There was also apparently a mob subplot that was jettisoned partway through filming.
I guess the long and the short of it is if you particularly like shark attack movies and have seen Jaws then this one is not bad. It just is not especially good either and you will find your self twiddling your thumbs while waiting for the next attack.
The final half hour is pretty action packed and if the whole film had been like the last half hour, this would easily have rated a watch recommendation.
Another note: like Jaws (but not nearly as bad), this transfer is pixelated in spots. Is someone getting lazy?
People Watch: A young Keith Gordon plays one of the teens, Doug Fetterman. He would later specialize in geeks and go on to star in Dressed to Kill and Christine.