either i am getting used to our screenings/bad movies, or the asylum is actually getting better. mega piranha, or megapiranha(depends on where you see the title), is hands down the best of the four asylum movies i have seen (the other 3 are: sunday school musical, transmorphers, and titanic ii). in case you don’t know, just look at the above titles. the asylum is the purveyor of the aptly named low budget mockbuster genre of movies that you see litter throughout your local blockbusters, redbox, and saturday night scifi SYFYllis channel time slot. their other mocksterpieces include paranormal entity, transmorphers: fall of men, 18 year old virgin, the haunting of winchester house (in 3d!), the da vinci treasure, the terminators, avh: alien vs. hunter…etc. now, before you get all excited i should warn you, most of these are mocked in name only. for example, transmorphers actually does not “mock” the michael bay blockbusters. in actuality, it’s plot is closer to the terminator movies(the later ones), or the matrix(again, the later ones).
but let’s not get distracted by things such as facts or reality. we’re talking about mega piranha here.
like your classic action movies from the 80s and 90s, mega piranha (m:p) opens with the traditional “inconsequential opening action sequence.” except this time, we get two i.o.a.s. the first one with a skinny dipping couple, just like jaws. and a second one with a boatload of t&a and two supposed to be important dudes (one of which is played by the director). of course, everyone and the boat get eaten by the piranhas. and we are in the orinoco river in venezuela. no, i’m not that good at geography, nor did i take note during the movie. m:p conveniently freeze frame to black and white and have words flashing into frame for each location and character.
enter our hero jason fitch, who gets a call from greg brady, playing secretary of state grady (brilliant wordplay asylum!). personally, i can barely get ready and get out of the house in the morning, i don’t know how fitch can get ready, while on the video phone with secretary of state grady at the same time, especially with all the whishing and swishing going on with the camera.
so fitch goes to venezuela…greeted by villian venezuelan general diaz…gets on a boat driven by stevie wonder…meets u.n. sanctioned scientist team…finds proof that all is not what it seems (using the diplomacy of the fist!*)…thus giving us our first memorable quote:
so the all american u.n. sanctioned scientist team, which includes a fat guy and a die hard sidekick reject, finally got a look at the piranha that fitch easily killed. there’s some boring “debate” about whether the piranhas double in size or grow exponentially every 36 hours or two days. oh, and “it’s got two hearts, triple thick skin. it’s hermaphrodite, it breeds on its own.”
all that in the first half hour of the movie. there are many more gems coming up. there’s also a boring car chase in the middle that michael bay would have been proud of, and would have stretched it to 20 minutes. although it did give us the classic exchange:
“we’re being followed!”
as oppose to all those times where you’re being followed by someone in front of you.
on the other hand, one has to wonder the believability of america going into a third world country, creating a menace that would crash into buildings and come back and bite us on the ass later on…
i suppose one could raise questions during the movie such as:
- why would grady turn around to face the camera when he’s the one making the call on the video phone other than for the audience to say “hey look it’s greg brady!”
- if the goal was for the greater good and to feed the masses, why would the u.n. send an all american team that specializes in piranhas?
- why are tiffany’s sidekicks writing on notepads like reporters from the 50s when everyone else in the movie has smart phones?
- what would tiffany’s character’s name be if she has both first AND last name?
- when did fitch take pictures underwater with a digital camera?
- is growing exponentially and growing every few days different?
- why does the villian general look like fred armisen doing a character?
- why is the same scene repeated four times in ten seconds? where did our hero learn to kick like that?
- why is a u.s. military submarine controlled by dudes from your high school’s d&d / drama / chess club?
- how are they able to talk to each other and having long detailed conversations under water while wearing scuba gear?
- how does a head explode after being shot with a flare in the mouth?
- how does tiffany the scientist capture the sound of “we found food” in piranha speak?
- why did the m.p.s’ go from a river in venezuela out to the ocean directly to florida(where they can’t even count votes), bypassing haiti, dominican republic and cuba? cause no one would care unless they are somewhere in america? if so, picking florida (in fact, any southern states) is a mistake.
- how does killing one piranha resolve everything in the movie? well that last one, i’m sure i’ll figure it out when we resolve that u.s.-created-third-world-menace in reality.
but to question during an asylum movie would be defeating its purpose.
all in all, m:p is a non-stop action thrill ride, as long as the piranhas are on screen. our staff seemed bother by the editing, freeze frame, title cards, split screen, slow-mo, and camera movement. to them i say, none of these would seem out of place in your typical tony scott/michael bay/jerry bruckheimer/csi: miami. hell, it was more efficient than most roland emmerich movies. with homage/”mock-tribute” to deep blue sea, godzilla(at least the u.s. version), shaolin soccer, doom(the game), and john woo(instead of two guns, it’s two helicopters!) to boot. it’s got the bruckheimer/bay/scott brothers editing and pacing down, a dash of the “visionary” 300, and joel silver’s mantra of action every ten minutes. the only difference is oh about 100 million dollars. it’s all about cutting to the chase with no money, and some may say, talent.
oh and byob.