Mega Piranha DVD Review
Written by Robert Gold
DVD released by The Asylum
Written and Directed by Eric Forsberg
2010, Region 1 (NTSC), 92 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on April 27, 2010
Paul Logan as Jason Fitch
Tiffany as Sarah Monroe
Barry Williams as Bob Grady
David Labiosa as Colonel Diaz
The U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela dies when his party boat sinks into the Orinoco River and officials automatically assume it was an assassination. Secretary of State Bob Grady (Barry Williams) calls in Jason Fitch (Paul Logan) to remedy the situation. Fitch is the most muscle-bound “analyst” the government employs and is viewed as the only man for the job (despite the endless resources available to the U.S. government). He is to review the situation with military leader Colonel Diaz (David Labiosa) and find out what was responsible for the ambassador’s death. Upon arrival, Fitch is met by Sarah Monroe ('80s pop-star, Tiffany), a scientist who warns him that genetically engineered piranhas are behind the incident.
Colonel Diaz puts on a great show of bravado against the overly macho American, and is quick to dismiss the scientist’s claims as those of a money-hungry opportunist. Fitch soon discovers that there really are giant piranhas in the river and they are only kept at bay by a giant beaver dam. Diaz orders an air strike against the fish and destroys the dam with rockets that somehow manage to miss the fish. Now free to swim where they please, the piranhas set a course for the United States with the added bonus threat of doubling in size every 36 hours.
Secretary of State Grady is informed of the situation and orders a nuclear strike on the fish. When that fails it is once again up to the giant muscle known as Fitch to save the day. Pressed for more information on the piranhas, Dr. Monroe admits to creating them to help feed the planet (?!), but shows zero remorse at the volumes of death and chaos she is responsible for as well. For unknown reasons, Colonel Diaz takes his failed air strike as a personal attack and must now punish the crazy Americans and sets out to capture or kill anyone in his flight path.
Our heroes make their way along the river devising inept schemes for fish containment while evading the ego-maniacal Colonel Diaz and his men. The clock is ticking as the U.S. government prepares for an even larger nuclear response before the fish reach the size of elephants and attack Washington D.C.
Jesus Christ, I don’t know where to begin. Mega Piranha is everything it should be and more, yet still manages to leave an after-taste of disappointment. While stronger than the average monster movie of late, this film is packed to the gills with countless clichés and suffers due to the breakneck pace of telling this epic tale in 90 minutes for pennies on the dollar.
Every time I feared I had had enough, the filmmakers sensed my anxiety and ratcheted up the action at the precise moment necessary for me to stay tuned. Countless times our heroes are thrust into no-win situations only to defy all odds and emerge unscathed. The action sequences offer some of the best imagery The Asylum has ever brought to the screen — including giant fish leaping into tall buildings.
While an obvious companion piece to Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, this film appears in direct competition with the previous vehicle by upping the ante at every turn. Where Debbie Gibson took the lead before, Tiffany raises the bar by starring and contributing a new song to the soundtrack! Mega Piranha even manages to outdo the ending of the other by not only being confusing, but also appearing satisfied with what can only be described as a temporary fix to the mega-problem.
The cast is to be commended for understanding exactly what kind of movie they were making and not pandering to the audience. Barry Williams sleepwalks through his role of Secretary of State, given little more to do than pace around while acting opposite his BlackBerry. Tiffany enthusiastically jumps into every scene by acting with her hands to the point of distraction. The bulk of the joy rests on the overly-sculpted shoulders of Paul Logan who appears in one silly action sequence after another, a highlight being when he falls on his back and scissor-kicks a barrage of flying fish.
Writer/Director Eric Forsberg manages to deliver a product that both satisfies and frustrates the viewer. His ideas are great, yet by taking the “kitchen sink” approach he is opting for the safe bet that if enough material is thrown at the screen, something will surely satisfy. It is surprising that the film wasn’t presented in 3D as every other gimmick is on display. I wish Forsberg would have taken another pass at the script and eliminated a subplot in order to allow the already crowded material room to breathe.
There is a lot of material that works in the film and yet it appears saddled with a pre-approved formula that forces certain elements to occur at a pre-determined moment in the running time. This flick brings nudity and adult language back to The Asylum; both had been sorely missed. Despite the limitations, Mega Piranha is an entertaining film that will please most audiences looking to pass an evening with a goofy monster movie
Video and Audio:
The Asylum delivers another solid 1:78 anamorphic transfer that is respectable in the presentation of black levels and the muted color palette. There are no compression issues or digital macro-blocking.
The 5.1 surround mix is respectable and gets a workout throughout the numerous action sequences. A 2-channel stereo mix is also provided for those deprived of surrounds.
The Asylum continues the tradition of brevity in presentation with a short featurette cleverly titled “The Making of Mega Piranha” which presents 11 minutes of talking-head interviews with members of the cast and crew balanced with on-set production footage.
Following this is a 3-minute gag reel that offers ample moments of Barry Williams and Tiffany sweating under the pressures of hitting their marks while remembering their lines.
Trailers for this and other Asylum titles round out the special features.
Click cover to purchase.