Mega Piranha

Mega Piranha

*1/2

Reviewed by: James Gracey

Just when you thought it was safe to rummage around in the bargain bin of your local video store, the latest ‘mockbuster’ offering from the ‘so-bad-its-good’-centric studio The Asylum, raises its shameless head from the dank depths of straight-to-DVD hell for a brief release on the big screen. Mega Piranha features a ‘plot’ involving a mutant strain of genetically modified giant piranha that escape from the Amazon and make their way towards Florida, leaving a trail of poorly realised, miniscule-budgeted destruction in their wake. Cheap CGI, copious explosions, absurd pseudo-science, baffling technical jargon, Eighties popstress Tiffany and much mindless entertainment ensues.

When one settles down to watch a film called Mega Piranha, one should really know what to expect. It would, however, be too easy to dismiss this film as utter garbage – to do so would be to forget the fact that this is actually its main appeal and the reason much of its audience will probably watch it. And in that respect, it really won’t disappoint. Exhibiting the right amount of tongue-in-cheek throughout, without ever appearing too clever or aware of itself as trash, Mega Piranha snaps along briskly boasting quick-fire editing that is at times as frenzied as the titular monsters, rushing us through increasingly ludicrous and outlandish situations while exhibiting a strangely endearing quality all its own.

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Dramatic black-and-white freeze frames herald the introduction of each character and scenes are connected by rapidly edited aerial footage and jump cuts of stylised city-scapes and landmarks to lend proceedings an air of immediacy, keep the pace peppy and attempt to create an epic feel its budget just can’t sustain. When the characters aren’t fending off cheap CGI piranhas or running through recycled sets peopled by only the most basic numbers of extras, they stand around spouting unnecessarily big mouthfuls of expository dialogue and making bold statements that usually involve the words "imperative", "exponentially"and "magnitude"; all delivered with utter conviction.

Opening with a couple of fairly low-key attack sequences in which swimmers and big-breasted boat-party revellers are offed by the chomping beasties, events swiftly begin to mount and with every attack scene, the scale is raised to more ridiculous heights. A vague waft of political intrigue is chucked into the mix by way of a paranoid dictator who refuses to listen to the Yankee scientists, threatening war with all who oppose his fascist regime. Naturally, he gets what is coming to him by way of a device that omits the mating call of the giant fish. Or something. Eventually helicopters, submarines, navy ships and whole cities are attacked and devoured by flailing CGI monsters. Tension is replaced by guffaws and characterisation by macho posturing as the cast (including Paul Logan and Tiffany) freely enter the spirit of the movie and spout their increasingly ludicrous lines with cod-assuredness.

Daft fun that is a mark up from last year’s Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Not that that is saying much, mind. You’ve been warned!

Reviewed on: 10 Jul 2010
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Giant piranha munch their way towards Florida.
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If you like this, try:

Piranha Part Two: The Spawning