Jaws: The Revenge: Jake dies…or does he?

The wonderful alternate endings to Jaws The Revenge

The first time I watched Jaws: The Revenge I was left aghast when one of the best characters was dragged to his death by the shark right at the end of the film. I am of course talking about Jake, played by Mario Van Peebles. Jake had brought some much needed light relief to the film, with his laidback approach to his work and good humour. The fact that Ellen and Michael Brody had survived and even clumsy Hoagie escaped unscathed just didn’t seem fair.

For years I went completely unaware that somewhere there actually existed a completely different ending to the film. Imagine my shock when watching the film on DVD release to discover Jake being found alive, despite several shots of him actually in the shark’s mouth and being mauled within an inch of his life. The scene where Michael finds Jake alive was equally unbelievable because Jake seemed to be in relatively good spirits. But if the shark had bitten him as much as we had seen, he surely would have lost tonnes of blood, several limbs and be unconscious. But no, here Jake is doing his wisecracks and on good form!

I was of course delighted that I had located a version of Jaws: The Revenge that kept Jake alive, when for all those years I had assumed he was rotting at the bottom of the ocean along with the shark’s corpse.

Here are some facts about those Jaws: The Revenge endings:

  1. In the original version the shark is impaled by the front of the boat and sinks to it’s death. Jake dies in this version.
  2. An alternate ending to the original version has the shark being impaled then curiously exploding. What made the shark explode? We shall never know, maybe he had just had enough or took in too much air! It has been suggested that test audiences wanted more excitement from the ending and the shark just sinking wasn’t quite exciting enough. Jake survives in this version.
  3. The AMC, BBC, and Theatrical Releases all have Jake dying.
  4. The Encore and DVD Versions (Universal and Goodtimes DVDs) have Jake surviving at the end.

To further confuse audiences, depending on which release you watch, it may have the shark being impaled or exploding on impact. Oh yes and some versions have additional ramming footage and some have shots edited in from the original Jaws, oh and some versions have sped up shots too. Confused?!

But at least we know there is a version where Jake survives and I like to think that is the official ending!

Enjoyed this Jaws: The Revenge post? Check out more Jaws posts here:

Is Jaws: The Revenge really the worst film ever?

An honourable film death: Marge from Jaws 2

(Author: Benjamin Fastnedge.)