Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mega Piranha (2010)

Okay, I've not seen the epic Birdemic, but Mega Piranha is likely the next best thing. This is one of the silliest, lamest efforts yet released by Troma.... Oooops, I mean The Asylem, and my face still hurts from grinning. Yes, it's so bad it could be considered a lot of fun.

Okay, the plot. Scientists, working in Venezuela, are trying to increase the food supply. So, naturally, they start tampering with piranha in order to help eliminate hunger in South America. The film never explains why, but I suspect that Mega Carp wouldn't be that exciting a title.

As you might imagine, the buggers get loose and start heading towards the ocean. And, while the scientists didn't breed them to live in the ocean, nature finds a way and soon, it's Navy Seals verse armored (oh, yea, the fish's scales have thickened, making them impervious to even nuclear weapons) piranha for control of the Florida Keys.

Now, if the fish stayed in the water, eating boats and Navy vessels, that would be silly enough. But the piranha are willing to beach themselves for tasty tidbits and eventually begin launching themselves into buildings to satisfy their ravenous hunger in scenes reminiscent of the Birdemic trailer. Warehouses explode, harbors are destroyed and, in the climax, giant piranha are ramming themselves into Florida seaside condos. All of this in very sub par CGI (if you think the fish in Alexendre Aja's upcoming Piranha 3D looks bad, you ain't see nothing yet).

If you're grinning from the above description, go rent this movie. If not, avoid it at all costs.

The acting is abysmal. The commander of a nuclear sub looks like he just stepped off the stage from a high school play. Tiffany (yes, the ex-pop star) comes off better than Debbie Gibson in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, but that's not saying much. And Barry Williams (as Secretary Grady; get it?) looks absolutely bored throughout the entire movie.

But they all pale compared to the hero, played by Paul Logan. A 2 X 4 would give an Oscar winning performance compared to him. Sure, he might be trying to channel Dirty Harry or Snake Plissken, but he falls painfully short of the mark. His performance is so monotone, so unexciting, that it's painful to watch at times.

But, for fans of bad cinema, this film is a treasure trove of chuckle inducing moments. Like when Logan is on his back, kicking away an army of piranha leaping out of the water after him. Or the giant piranha stuck in the side of a beachfront condo. Or the murky waters of the Orinoco River, which at times look like the crystal clear waters of a coral reef. Or Logan defending himself from an underwater piranha attack with a knife. Oh, and I have to mention the piranha swimming down the river, leaping like a school of salmon. My face still hurts from laughing fit I had over that scene.

Look, it's not for everyone. It's not very gory (no surprise, as it was a Syfy movie) and it defies all attempts at seriousness. But for lovers of bad films, it's a great late night treat. It's the cinematic equivalent of an extra large, extra greasy cheese pizza, served at the right temperature and perfect for a night with a few friends and a good supply of beer. Dig in and have fun, if you dare!