Title: Mega Piranha
Director: Eric Forsberg
Released: Paul Logan, Tiffany, Barry Williams, David Labiosa, Jude Gerard Prest, Jesse Daly
Rating: 3 / 5
Plot: A mutant strain of Piranha, escape from the Amazon eating their way to Florida and they are only growing bigger.
Review: Every year we all eagerly await the list of films, which will make up the summer blockbuster list, while at the same time there are those of us, who are quietly placing our bets on which of these titles, will be receiving the “mockbuster” treatment courtesy of “The Asylum”, a studio which has carved a name for itself in recent years not with ground breaking ideas but instead for it’s knock off versions of summer blockbusters….“Snakes on a train” anyone?? Still last year they hit paydirt, with the release of “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” (2009) which not only was an original film (shock horror) with no recognisable film it also turned out to be a surprising breakout hit for the company, even getting a small cinematic release on the strength of the cult following it gained from the trailer getting heavy Youtube rotation.
Still despite this success it would seem that “The Asylum” have once again focused their attentions back on the Hollywood mainstream, with the forthcoming release of Alexandre Aja’s “Piranha” remake, it’s almost to predicatable that they would churn out their own version, while also not content to just rip off this film, but also the original two films, the sequel of which “Piranha 2: The Spawning” (1981) memorably provided the questionable launch pad for James Cameron’s career, with the films not only heavily references throughout, but instead basically both films, scrapbooked together into one truly random movie, with an added dose of gigantism.
Despite the fact they actually made a popular and original film, I did wonder if it would mean that this latest release might get more of a budget, which is a theory pretty much scrapped right from the start, with an early and questionable looking attack sequence that “The Asylum” haven’t forgotten their roots, as this is once again a hodgepodge of crappy looking CGI, Z list actors and err 80’s pop stars, but then was we really expecting anything else, especially when you consider that these are truly the values the company was built upon, much like legendry cult studio Troma.
Still it would seem that this time they are clearly trying to compete with the big budget action movies, of the Hollywood system especially with Director and long term Asylum member Forsberg, using a heavy mixture of fast cuts marked with “swoosh” and “Bam” sound effects, while large writing flashing across the screen, to highlight not just locations, but pretty much any character who happens to stumble in front of the camera, be they important to the story or not, he highlights them all, while at the time even finding time to throw in an occasional split screen moment.
One the worst things about “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” was the prolonged scenes of dialogue, which crammed up most of the film, along with scenes of the main three characters, hanging around a lab looking puzzled, as they stared at jars of coloured water.
Thankfully this film doesn’t fall into the same trap and is instead pretty action all the way, with Paul Logan making for a suitable gruff lead, even if he does at times kind of come off like the bargain basement Adam Baldwin, in the much the same way that Nicolas Lea was the cheapy version of Hicks in “Xtro 2” (1990). Meanwhile Tiffany makes for a questionable love interest and even more questionable scientist, as once again another 80’s pop icon appearing as a scientist, following the trend started by Debbie Gibson in “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus”, which once again making the studio casting choices none the less questionable and making me wonder who they will dig up next, when they get around to making Uber Prawn or the inevitable cross over Mega Piranha Vs. Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus.….Personally I’m hoping for Tony Basil.
As I’ve mentioned already the action quota is seriously ramped up here, with numerous attack scenes, with the scenes involving the super sized Piranha attacking a coastal town proving to be especially insane, while at the same time never explaining why the buildings are exploding, when they are hit by the flying piranha. It’s also a shame that Forsberg can’t seem to hold his wad, with the majority of the attack scenes, as they often feel over filled are far too frantic especially during the town attack, which only further to highlight the questionable CGI effects, though if you’ve made it this far in the film, you’ve no doubt gotten used to them already. It’s also interesting to see the same power station used so liberally in “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” once again appear here in similar style scenes, with the interior once again doubling for a submarine interior. I’m not sure what is so special about this location, but they sure get their money’s worth, seeing how it’s adapted once again, to fill so many roles.
Personally I felt that it overstayed it’s welcome towards the end and could have done with some trimming in places, but then I was attempting to watch it solo and the films of “The Asylum” always work best when watched with a few friends, some cold beers and some really low expectations, conditions under which I might have found it more enjoyable. Still in the meantime “The Asylum” machine rolls on and although they might be largely awful not only in terms of effects, but acting ability, I still at the same time have no doubt that this will not be last time I watch one of their movies, only here’s hoping next time I’m not so sober, when I try to do it!