Cinepub


Review: Piranha 3D (2010) by Jamie

Light Spoilers Ahead

Well, we’ve finally come to the end of the Piranhathon and I have to say, thank fuck for that. I am getting pretty damn sick of fucking piranha at this point and I’ve only actually seen one good film out of four so far. Will Piranha 3D be the shining saviour that can make everything ok again?

Well holy fucking shitballs, yes! Yes it can! Now I was a little sceptical going in to Piranha 3D simply because of that 3D bit at the end there. I’ve never really had 3D work properly for me. I don’t know if it’s been were I’ve sat in the cinema or if because I have to wear normal glasses beneath the 3D pair or what but for some reason, it’s always left me feeling a little bit off and with hideously aching eyes, especially after Toy Story 3 which just seemed to give me hideous eye strain for about a week afterwards.

But Piranha 3D worked perfectly! And what’s more, Alexandre Aja seems to get what 3D is. It’s a gimmick and it should be treated as such. James Cameron can bitch and moan about how 3D is the future of cinema as long as you don’t do what Piranha 3D does but he’s wrong. 3D is a gimmick, Piranha 3D treated it as such and it was the first 3D film I’ve enjoyed because of the 3D rather than in spite of it. Avatar just looked like World of Warcraft to me.

Anyway, I suppose I shouldn’t really give too much of the plot away since it’s still a fairly new release but I’m going to issue a spoiler alert right now anyway. Spoiler alert: Piranha eat some folk. That’s about it, honestly. There is a lot of build up where you sort of learn a few things about the main characters, although now that I think about it you don’t really learn that much. Most of the build-up is actually spent on jokes about Spring Break, booze, boobs and porn with the occasional moment where it’s made clear that our main male teen character (Steven R. McQueen) likes female teen character (Jessica Szhor) but none of it really matters. It’s all building up to the slaughter.

Ok, I’m not gonna bother with plot anymore, though like I said, that’s pretty much it. Let’s talk about everything else that makes this movie awesome. First off, it has nudity. A ridiculous amount of nudity. In fact if I would be surprised if it wasn’t the nudity that got this film an 18 in the UK and an R in the US rather than the violence and gore. There’s a scene of Kelly Brook and Riley Steele swimming naked underwater for what seemed like ten minutes. It was a bit confusing because the natural way to end that scene is with a vicious piranha attack but they just surfaced and were fine. Still, nudity.

Piranha 3D also is chock full of blood, gore and severed CGI penises. Alright, it’s not full of severed CGI penises, there’s just one but its pretty amusing. Still, the piranha attacks and the people related death that occur as a result of them trying to escape the piranha are over the top, creative, uber-bloody and just plain fun to watch if you like that kind of thing. I won’t say anything about any of the death in specific I’ll just say that they should easily satisfy a gore-hound. Piranha 3D also manages to keep in with the tradition of the original Piranha by having the odd single death here and there but really going for the massive attack, that is piranha attacking huge groups of people en-masse. It makes for a fantastic scene filled with churning water, frantic bodies and floating body parts. Also that water turns redder than you’ve ever seen it turn red in your life. It’s fucking awesome.

Finally a word about the cameos in this film. First off you’ve got a couple of porn stars. Always nice to see and they actually have some of the best deaths in the entire film. But the two greatest cameos since Zombieland belong to Richard Dreyfuss and Christopher Lloyd. Richard Dreyfuss basically reprises his role of Matt Hooper from Jaws in the opening scene of this film, sitting on his boat, drinking Amity Beer and singing “Show Me The Way To Go Home”. Then the piranha come. It’s awesome. Then we have Christopher Lloyd playing what is essentially an ichthyologist version of Doc Brown from Back To The Future. Hell they even throw in a little time travel joke with regard as to when it would have been a good time to stop the piranha. Sadly though, he does not say “Great Scott!!!” which would have stood out like a sore thumb but would have been entirely appropriate in this movie.

I’m sorry I haven’t gone into as great detail with this film as I did with ‘Mega Piranha’ yesterday (a fucking 2500 word essay on Mega Piranha!!!) but I think this is definetly one you’ll want to just check out. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s politically incorrect and it’s proud. This film knows exactly what it is and I’d say it does for the B-Movie what The Expendables does for the action movie. See it. See it on the big screen in 3D. You won’t regret it. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz



Review: Mega Piranha (2010) by Jamie

Well we finally come to the cream of the crap of this little Piranhathon. If you’re looking at a film and the title is an animal name with the word ‘Mega’ in front of it then there’s a good chance you’ve got a pretty shitty B-Movie on your hands. There’s also a good chance that you may be dealing with a release from the internet’s favourite film studio, The Asylum. I hope you put on appropriate protection before picking up that DVD case. The film we’re looking at today, Mega Piranha, also debuted on the SyFy channel so we’re looking at something so terrible that even they wanted to get in on it. Now, I know I probably should have saved his for my new video review series that’s coming soon ‘Cinepub Presents SyFy Presents’ but it just fits in to the whole piranha theme I’ve got going on at the minute not to include it here what with the fact that it’s got piranha in it.

Ok, I warn you now that as I write this I’m starting to feel like I’ve eaten some really bad fish. I’m beginning to suspect I’ve overdosed on piranha based entertainment. If I start to just ramble on about giant piranha crashing into buildings and inexplicably exploding then understand that I’ve pretty much broken down and reality is starting to melt… No, wait. That actually happened in this film. Fucking hell.

Well, the film opens with an American Ambassador to Venezuela on a boat with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister and a bunch of bikini clad/topless women. They’re discussing political things when all of a sudden their boat is attacked by a school of uber-aggressive piranha or Mega Piranha if you will. The scene is really quite ridiculous with a bunch of piss-poor CGI fish jumping onto the boat and eating the party aboard except for one guy who, perhaps realising he’s in an Asylum movie, just jumps overboard into the sweet release of the waiting piscine jaws. Also the water is pretty poorly coloured red digitally. Really? Would it have been that hard to have just splashed some red dye into the water or something? Awful.

The American government is somewhat perturbed by this little sudden disappearance f an ambassador in a foreign land and, fearing a terrorist plot, they decide to send in Jason Fitch, one of their top special forces agents to investigate. Fitch is played by Paul Logan and there’s only one way to adequately explain his performance to you. You know how everyone says that action stars generally aren’t the best actors? Well, to some degree this is true but people tend to over-exaggerate their criticism of action stars acting capabilities. Paul Logan is what you get when everyone’s criticism of action stars is not only true but is actually holding back a bit, perhaps to spare the feelings of those action stars. What I’m basically getting at is that Paul Logan is to action films what Tommy Wiseau is to acting, writing and directing drama films. He’s apparently got a degree in bio-chemistry which I guess makes him a bit like Dolph Lungren if Dolph Lungren were an even worse actor.

So Fitch heads to South America in order to find out if this was terrorists, a boating accident or maybe some kind of Mega Sloth or Mega Tapir. The one thing he never expected, however, would be the one thing he would find… Mega Piranha! As he’s leaving the airport having met the Venezuelan Colonel Diaz, his liaison in the country and the eventual villain of the piece, Fitch is pulled aside by busty red-headed scientist Sarah Monroe because apparently it’s very easy to get this close to secret agents on missions when they are being escorted by the Venezuelan military. She informs him that this was no terrorist attack. It was a strain of incredibly deadly piranha she created in her lab for some reason. More on that later. Anyway, Monroe is played by Tiffany who I understand was a musician of some kind in the 80s. All I know is that while thoroughly researching this film I came across some pictures of her from Playboy on the internet and let’s just hope she gets ‘em out for the lads at some point during this film because if I’m watching films about killer piranha I expect two things, piranha attacks and breasts.

Anyway, Diaz doesn’t believe the story about the Mega Piranha and, infuriated at Fitch’s insistence that that may be what caused the attack, he calls of the entire investigation. Fitch goes to the lab to try and find out more about these killer fish. There he meets Monroe’s colleagues, Dr. Higgins a tubby man who speaks like Adrien Brody in ‘Predators’ making everything he says hilarious (despite which the man playing him, Jude Gerard Prest, does deserve quite a bit of respect for being a man with a long and successful career behind him having filmed on every continent except Antarctica. Seriously, look him up on Wikipedia. It’s really quite impressive.) and Gordon who’s just kinda there looking up data occasionally. They explain that they had been developing hardier animals so that the people of Venezuela would have a more steady food supply. During this experimentation they accidentally released a strain of mutant piranha into the local river system. The piranha are growing at an increasingly rapid rate and show no sign of stopping. Also they’ve developed an assortment of extra organs, can absorb nutrients through the skin (which begs the question ‘Why do they need to eat?’) and have virtually impenetrable. Hold on a moment. You were creating animals for the people of Venezuela to eat so why the fuck did you create these Mega Piranha? What possible benefit could indestructible, ravenous killer fish bring to the impoverished people of Venezuela? I guess that’s why I’m not a movie scientist. I just can’t see the bigger picture.

Fitch goes out to gather evidence of the existence of these Mega Piranha and kills one in order to bring it back to Diaz. He’s attacked a bit but as soon as he stabs a fish, the other piranha ignore him to cannibalize their fallen compatriot. Take note of that because it will be important later or it would be if the ending made any sense. More on that later. Anyway, whilst Fitch is diving to capture the piranha, the movie actually teaches me a couple of things I had never known before. For one, the Amazon is incredibly clear which I guess makes the enlarged sonar organ those river dolphins evolved for navigating murky waters pretty unnecessary. Gutted you endangered pink pricks. Secondly the Amazon has quite a few coral reefs which came as quite a shock to me. I had always considered coral reefs something that were exclusive to marine environments but nope, apparently they occur in rivers as well. Good for them.

Diaz reacts to the piranha the way that any rational human being would. He ignores the scientists thoughts on how to kill them and takes to the air with his squadron of helicopters and shoots the shit out of the river and the natural dam that was keeping them pinned in. Of course the piranha somehow survive the weapons being fired randomly at them from the sky and escape into the river system at large. Diaz decides that the best course of action is to arrest the scientists for creating the piranha and releasing them into the wild, also deciding that the whole thing is part of a secret CIA plot to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

Now, I know that Diaz is meant to be the villain of the piece, impeding the mission of our valiant heroes but he’s kinda got a point. Like I said earlier, why the fuck did those scientists create those Mega Piranha if not to intentionally release them into Venezuela to create panic and unrest during which the CIA could easily replace their system of government with one more to their liking? The more I think about it, the more it’s the only possible solution to the whole mystery behind the creation of the Mega Piranha. The only error the scientists made was making their Piranha too damn Mega, making them a threat to not just Venezuela but the whole world.

Anyway, Dr. Higgins, Fitch and Gordon manage to escape from the military which leads to one of the most blatant and hilarious examples of repeated footage and dialogue I have ever seen. Let’s watch, won’t we?

Jesus fucking Christ. There is no way to describe the ridiculous nature of what we have just observed. Just take it in and cherish it, never let the feeling you had watching it go. You will die a happier person. Anyway, because the two stand there repeating the same movement over and over for a little too long they are apprehended. Still Fitch manages to track them down and, during a Mega Piranha attack on a random Venezuelan city, let’s call it Venezuela City (I don‘t know if Venezuela City even actually exists but it‘s a fine name for a city from Venezuela), he manages to free them and they make their escape. Well, except for Dr. Higgins. He gets gobbled up by a Mega Piranha. Alas poor Higgins, you bizarre voice and habit of doing the same thing over and over will be sorely missed.

I should take a moment to address something very important about the nature of the Mega Piranha’s attacks. They have reached the size of about a car at this point and they attack by simply launching themselves out of the water into buildings and exploding. An explosion which, I should say, they manage to survive. They can be seen quite happily flapping their tails as they sit stuck in buildings. So what the hell causes the Mega Piranha to explode upon impact? Are they attacking exclusively nitro-glycerine plants? Is Venezuela City known for it’s nitro-glycerine production? Or have the mutant piranha simply evolved the ability to extrude napalm through their skin? What the fuck where those scientists doing in that lab? How are giant piranha who attack buildings and explode on impact a help to anyone? I know I’m repeating myself but seriously!

A massive car chase ensues through South America during which time both chaser and chasee’s cars randomly change into different models at random times. The science team manage to ascertain that the Piranha are heading for the river mouth and, being freshwater fish, they’ll be trapped there and vulnerable to attack. Fitch gets on the phone to his boss and a plan is set up where a passing battle cruiser will bomb the river mouth, exterminating the Mega Exploding Piranha for ever more.

Of course the plan fails, the Mega Piranha can in fact survive in sea water and they take down the battle cruiser for good measure as they head out to ocean. Yes, piranha destroy a battle cruiser. It’s… Well, it’s just fucking ridiculous. Admittedly they are now the size of really big things but still… fucking ridiculous. So they all figure out that the Mega Piranha are heading up to Florida and so the race is on to stop them before they kill any goddamn Americans! Yes, the Venezuelan military are putting everything they can into stopping the rogue scientists whilst the Piranha eat everything around them but the good ol’ US of A’s military is fully behind protecting their citizens. Well, sort of. Their contingency plan if they can’t stop the piranha in the ocean is to nuke the fuck out of Florida so there’s that.

Of course they can’t stop the Mega Piranha in the water. They launch a ten kiloton nuke at the fishy bastards and yet they survive. Fitch’s boss is all ready to bomb Florida into a sheet of glass when Fitch remembers the way those piranha cannibalized the one he stabbed earlier. If only he could get them all to bleed, they’d surely eat each other to death. So the plan is to drop a bunch of divers amongst the school and have them shoot at their eyes. Once actually in the water and the eye plan falls, Monroe informs them that some piranha don’t have regular blood vessels in their eyes and they should try shooting their gills instead. Well, thanks scientist lady! That’s information that would have really been helpful earlier before half the team had been eaten by giant ravenous Mega Piranha! Then when that doesn’t work either she suggests shooting bombs into their mouths which should cause massive haemorrhaging in their stomachs! Well, thanks again scientist lady! You didn’t think that the suggestion of shooting them in the largest target area in their face, the one they are most likely to be swimming towards you wide open was important to share back up on the surface before the operation began? I’m starting to think you created these piranha because you just get turned on by the thought of people being eaten by giant fish! What the fuck is wrong with you lady?!?

Anyway, Diaz turns up in a helicopter and Fitch manages to get the piranha to eat him, helicopter and all using a transmitter which emit’s the sounds they make when they find prey. Fitch manages to blow up the Mega Piranha that had eaten Diaz by shooting a missile still attached to the helicopter. The rest of the piranha go into a feeding frenzy and set upon the corpse. All the divers get out and celebrate because apparently blowing up on fish and getting the others to eats its corpse constitutes winning somehow. Seriously, they kill one fish and everyone just starts celebrating… WHAT THE FUCK?!? How does that make any sense? What about the hundred or so other giant piranha which are still going to attack Florida once they’ve finished with their dead comrade? It’s the equivalent of solving a bank heist by arresting one guy who was tangentially involved, brushing your hands together, saying ‘Case closed’ and walking off into the sunset. It doesn’t work! And Tiffany didn’t get ‘em out for the lads! This film is a massive waste of time from every conceivable angle!

That being said it is a hell of a lot more fun than Piranha 2 or the 90s remake of the original Piranha. It’s just so fucking stupid, it is one of those bad films that it’s genuinely fun to watch maybe even more fun than Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus. The special effects are laughable, the acting is terrible, the same footage is repeated over and over again and the ending makes no sense whatsoever. It’s hilarious to watch. So all in all I’ll have to give it two and a half stars out of five for simply pushing the boundaries of the ridiculous. Will Piranha 3D fare any better? Come back tomorrow to find out. Laterz.



Review: Piranha 2: The Spawning (1981) by Jamie

Ah, Piranha 2. Whether he likes it or not, and believe me he doesn’t, this will be regarded by most people as James Cameron’s first film. I will be one of those people because James Cameron is a massive, massive douche bag. That’s not a comment on his film making abilities. You’d have to be an idiot to say he isn’t a great filmmaker but I just wish he’d knew when to keep his damn mouth shut because when he does speak, well, it makes him come off as a massive, massive douche bag. Take what he had to say about Piranha 3D’ recently. I hate pretty much every statement he makes in that interview. 3D is a gimmick whether you like it or not James. Piranha 3D understood that and it’s the first film using the new 3D technology that I’ve actually enjoyed due to the 3D rather than in spite of it. Still, I’m getting ahead of myself.

So yes, to be fair to Cameron, he was indeed replaced on this Italian produced sequel to 1978’s awesome ‘Piranha’ by Joe Dante. I’m not actually sure if the producers of this film got any kind of permission to make this sequel. I know that uber-B-movie producer Roger Corman, who produced the first film, isn’t involved at all which is a pretty bad sign because Roger Corman is awesome at what he does. Also because this is an Italian production James Cameron had the unenviable task of working with an all Italian crew who spoke no English though it probably couldn’t have hurt if maybe he learnt a little Italian. To top it all off he had to work with executive producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, a man who disliked everything Cameron did and had final say about everything. So in the end they fired Cameron, brought on an Italian director to do the film how they wanted it done but they left Cameron’s name on it because they were contractually couldn’t submit the film with an Italian name, leaving Cameron with this stain on his flexography for the rest of time. Poor James Cameron. He’s still a douche bag though.

So what’s this film about? Well, ostensibly piranha. Flying piranha at that but they don’t really show up much and when they do the screen is so dark that it can be hard to ascertain exactly what’s going on. The basic gist of the story is that a military ship has sunk carrying a batch of mutant piranha eggs. This time they’ve had their DNA mixed with a whole muddle of other fish including flying fish hence their new found powers of aviation. I don’t mean to be a stickler here but flying fish cannot fly like bats. They just sort of glide. Sure their “wings” might wobble a bit as they move from side to side to change direction but it’s certainly not flapping. Seriously, it’s a fucking B-Movie just mix the fucking piranha DNA with bat DNA. Do you know how awesome a piranha would look with bat wings?

That Fucking Awesome.

And why are the military still messing about with Piranha anyway? Didn’t they learn anything from the events of the first Piranha outbreak back in 1978? Did they actually manage to cover up that stuff? Did nobody find out that the military were behind it because if they did I can only assume that there would be massive investigations into their secret activities and any piranha-based research would be stopped immediately.

I’ll be honest. Describing the plot is going to be difficult because whilst I was watching this I kept on zoning out and just getting distracted by far more interesting things like practicing Guitar Hero without turning the game on and looking at bits of fluff I found on my bedroom floor. Also there are far, far too many different plot threads than there should be in a killer fish movie. Basically, there’s a diving instructor who has someone get eaten on her during one of their dives, one of her students is actually a government agent trying to find out if the piranha are there, her ex-husband is the sheriff who is played by Lance Henriksen (the only decent acting performance in the entire film really) who goes around kind of harassing people but mainly for their own safety, there’s their son who is hired to work on a rich guy’s yacht and his adventures with the rich guy’s sexy young daughter, there’s the resort owner who refuses to close the resort on their biggest day of business (of course), there’s the couple of girls who trick a retarded chef into giving them free food by offering him a threesome, there’s the local fisherman and his son who hunt for fish with dynamite, there’s the ugly girl who falls in love with the ugly dentist and there’s many more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. The point is most of that is completely ancillary. Just give me one main plot thread, maybe a side plot as well and then have piranha attack things. Is that so hard?

To top everything off, not only is the plot a mess but so is the film-making side of things. The camera work is atrocious, framing characters in such a way that it seems as though you’re supposed to be paying attention to what the extras in the background are doing sometimes and at others it just cuts the top of a characters head off at a bizarre angle in a way that just shouldn’t be done in any film ever. As mentioned previously the film is also really poorly lit, especially towards the end when most of the piranha action actually happens. Even so, the piranha look fucking atrocious as they fly towards people guided by sometimes clearly visible wires. It’s all such a massive, massive disappointment after the enjoyment that could be had watching the first film.

Well, there you have it. Piranha 2 is a very, very bad film and I mean genuinely b ad. It isn’t the kind of film you can watch and have fun watching because of it’s awfulness, it’s just awful. The one highlight is Lance Henriksen. He’s always enjoyable to watch and it’s kind of weird to see him looking kind of young here. Actually the rich guy’s daughter is kinda cute. Let’s look her up and see if she’s doing anything these days. Let’s see… Her name is Leslie Graves… Leslie Graves… Ah, here we go… Oh, she died in 1995 from an AIDS-related illness. Well, thanks for that movie. That’s really depressing. Just what you need after a bad film. Hopefully I’ll find some joy in tomorrow’s offering, the 1995 remake of the original Piranha! Join us then and find out… Oh, and the rating for Piranha 2 is one pint out of five. Laterz.




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