This direct sequel to Steven Spielberg’s legendary original is nowhere near as effective as its predecessor. Mind you, trying to deliver even a halfway decent continuation to the original would be a tall order, but director Jeannot Szwarc doesn’t quite seem up to the challenge. The attack scenes are mostly underwhelming and difficult to follow, while many of them are nonsensical and over-the-top. In addition, the pace is slow as molasses, while some of the peripheral elements (like Roy Scheider’s onscreen children’s ages, which seem to have accelerated about a decade) are surprisingly lazy and sloppy. In the last 30 minutes however, the movie explodes with suspense and tension, delivering a crackerjack finale that comes out of nowhere, especially after the first 90 minutes of tedium. Scheider delivers a strong performance that seems to be working in spite of the underwhelming screenplay and he makes the journey to the climax feel a little less labored, but it’s not enough to rescue the movie from Szwarc’s many directorial missteps.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)