Cinepub


Review: Piranha (1995) by Jamie

Ah, the 90s. The coke fuelled high of the 80s was over and the year 2000 was just around the corner and was full of terrifying things like millennium bugs, robot uprisings and bizarre lycra-based space fashions. Independent film came more to the forefront, largely in reaction to people becoming tired of the big, overblown films that Hollywood pumped out with disastrous regularity. Just look at the flexography of Stallone or Schwarzenegger during the 90s. The stars of the 80s were fading, their bloated corpses kept afloat by terrible film after terrible film… Well, Kindergarten Cop was fun. Still, the 90s Hollywood machine did adorn us with some awesome. Jurassic Park for example. Still, the 90s was essentially a giant come down after the decadence of the 80s with minds filled with paranoia looking towards the future. Still, the economy was pretty strong. Take that current economical situation!

Still, we’re not here to look at what the 90s was all about. We’re here to look at a made for TV remake of a 70s B-Movie! Yes, that’s right. Apparently during the 90s Roger Corman produced a number of remakes of some of his earlier films for cable television. One of those films was 1995’s remake of Piranha. I would write a plot synopsis but it’s pretty much exactly the same as original. There are a few differences such as the military not showing up this time, the story being much more anti-corporation than it is anti-military.

The film does differ in a few important ways however. For one, the film is pretty much stripped of all humour. This time Grogan is played by William Katt who has literally none of the gruff charm of Bradford Dillman. He’s just a guy who doesn’t have a particularly pronounced drinking problem and is trying to be a writer. Perhaps the biggest example of this character change is the difference between two very similar exchanges in the two films. In the first Maggie asks Grogan if he began drinking after his wife divorced him. In this film she asks if he started writing after the divorce. It’s a little thing but it kind of neuters the character a little. Also his divorce is directly related to his decision to fight against big evil corporate America and the smelting plant which would play a big part later in the film.

Speaking of the smelting plant, something occurred to me which I didn’t even consider during the original film. So the developer has built brand new water park resort on this lake and they didn’t get rid of the big smelting plant that’s just sitting there, flooded, full of industrial waste and slowly rusting away? Am I the only one who sees the problem that this kind of short-sighted thinking would inevitably lead to?

I suppose another thing that is notable about this film is that Mila Kunis stars as Grogan’s daughter and is probably gives the most convincing performance throughout the whole thing. Keep in mind that she is about eleven or twelve during this film so, yeah, that says something about the quality of this film.

So yeah, I think I’m pretty much done with this. The whole film is just a flat, boring rehash of what was a pretty entertaining film. There’s just no fun to be had here at all. Oh, and I should also mention that the land developer behind the water park resort shoots himself in the head after the piranha attack in this version whilst the camera cuts back and forth to the watchful eyes of the mounted animal heads on his wall. Subtlety is not the strong suit of this movie. Still, it is better than the crap put out by the SyFy channel and the Asylum although those things are often fun to watch because you can‘t believe someone actually wrote and filmed something so ridiculous. It also has to be said that it is better than Piranha 2: The Spawning. Ugh, fuck that film.

So to sum up quickly, Piranha 1995 gets two pints out of five. Join us tomorrow for the epic adventure that is ‘Mega Piranha’ brought to you through the combined efforts of the SyFy channel and The Asylum! Huzzah!

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Cop Land? Granted, it’s not a Stallone film per se, but a cracking performance.

Comment by Bootsy Collins

It is a good performance and it’s a Miramax film. It’s Stallone going the Indie root to try and get some credibility back.

Comment by Jamie




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