Forget the Armed Forces. When predators attack, America must look to former teen idols to save the day. Paul Logan, Tiffany and Barry Williams star in Mega Piranha.
Director – Eric Forsberg
Screenplay – Eric Forsberg
Producer – David Michael Latt & David Rimawi
Rated R for some violence, brief nudity and language
Down in Venezuela’s Orinoco River, a strain of genetically modified piranhas have escaped into an isolated tributary due to human interference of the local environment. Swimming their way downstream, destroying anything that crosses their path, these “mega-piranhas” (just as the title promised us) are on path for Florida at the height of the state’s tourist season.
Yes, in this movie, Cuba, Haiti, the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and pretty much every body of land that sits directly in between Venezuela and the Sunshine State don’t exist.
With these genetically altered fish growing exponentially as time goes by, Secretary of State Bill Grady (Barry Williams) calls for Special Agent Jason Fitch (Paul Logan) and scientist Sarah Monroe (Tiffany) to contain the bloodthirsty creatures, while also containing the mounting tension between the US and Venezuela.
‘Cause if psychotic gilled monsters aren’t gonna work by themselves, just whip up some geopolitical suspense to help back them up.
It needn’t be said that Mega Piranha – another high-quality offering from Syfy – lacks plausibility. This is, after all, a film about razor-toothed fish the size of buildings. Yet, believe it or not, those said fish are the most believable aspect about this movie. It actually takes less effort to buy into the idea that piranhas can grow to be as massive as blue whales than it does to buy the security of the United States being successfully placed into the hands of Secretary of State Greg Brady and a scientist whose greatest claim to fame was a #1 hit ’80s cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now” (a sentiment the sole reviewer who gave this film a positive review on Rotten Tomatoes can happily share with the former teen pop star).
Looks like Johnny Bravo wants an easy paycheck. What would his father think of his sellout son?
“… That’s the way we became the Brady Bunch!!”
SUPERIMPOSE: “And Ann B. Davis as Alice”
INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
Mike Brady is looking over some of his blueprints.
MIKE BRADY: “Greg, could you come in here for a minute. We need to talk, son.”
GREG BRADY: “Oh, jeepers, dad. What is it? I was in the middle of tossing the football around with Tommy Johnson. He’s the big man on campus.”
MIKE BRADY: “Well, this shouldn’t take long. What’s Tommy wearing, by the way? Perhaps something tight fitting? I mean, anyway, your mother told me something that, quite frankly, I didn’t wanna believe.”
GREG BRADY: “Dad, I swear I had no idea Marcia was in the bathroom. An-and – uh – and we’re only related by law anyway!”
MIKE BRADY: “No, it’s not that… Your mother said you did a movie solely for the money. Is that true?”
GREG BRADY: “Mega Piranha? No, dad, I swear I did it ’cause I honestly felt it had potential to be a thrilling adventure.”
MIKE BRADY: “Now, come on, Greg. You know what we said about lying, right? When you lie, you not only lie to us… you’re also lying to the integrity that makes your inner character so special… The movie was dog shit and you know it.”
GREG BRADY: “Well… okay, dad… yeah, I did do it for the money… You’re not mad at me, are you?”
MIKE BRADY: “No, son, I’m not… I’m just disappointed.”
GREG BRADY: “I just wanted to be popular, dad. I mean, Eric Roberts got to do Sharktopus and that drunk guy from Baywatch got his own Anaconda movie… I just wanted to be cool like them. What’s wrong with wanting to be liked?”
MIKE BRADY: “Heck, Greg, nothing’s wrong with that. But you said the same thing when you took that cameo role in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, which who are we kidding, was the only high point you had in the past twenty years.”
ALICE: “Ho ho, that’s a pretty low high if you ask me, Mr. Brady, he he!”
MIKE BRADY: “Oh, Alice… Say, before your burgeoning career as a comedienne takes off, could you maybe plant your ass back in the kitchen where you belong?
GREG BRADY: “Well, my classmates are all just a bunch of nincompoops! It’s just not fair. Marcia’s able to get anyone to like her with that pretty face and sweet, tight perky body of hers.”
MIKE BRADY: “Look, son. It’s understandable that some like Tiffany are so desperate for relevancy again, they’re doling out BJs and Handys to the entire film crew. Hell, how do you think I got my role back for A Very Brady Christmas? But you’re a Brady, and you’re better than that. See, a real friend likes you for who you are, not what pile of shit film you’re in. If you judge your friends for passing judgment on you, you’re not only judging yourself you’re judging your friends for judging you. And that would be using bad judgment… Understand, Greg?”
GREG BRADY: “Yeah, I guess so.”
(Audience awws as Mike and Greg hug)
GREG BRADY: “Hey, dad?”
MIKE BRADY: “Yes, Greg?”
GREG BRADY: “How come you and mom never hug or kiss?”
MIKE BRADY: “Well – uh – well – whoo… You see…”
CINDY BRADY: “Gee whithz, dad. Have you theen my hamthter Thnowflake? I think I lotht him!”
(Audience applauds as Mike looks at the camera and shrugs his shoulders)
Mega Piranha is Syfy’s mockbuster answer to Alexandre Aja’s entertaining Piranha 3D, even though it was released prior to Aja’s schlock film. That might’ve been ’cause, as cheap as it looks, it probably only took them a day and a half to complete the entire film. The difference between the two is that, although I’m no Aja fan, he at least understood what tone was needed to make a campy film like Piranha work, while Mega Piranha takes itself so seriously. Between the more dramatic than necessary performances and the quick cutting between scenes that include the obligatory superimposed location settings and character names that are typically see in intense military-themed films, it’s as if Paul Greengrass gave up on the Bourne franchise and decided to make a creature feature, while still keeping the tone and style of a Bourne film.
Writer/director Eric Forsberg, whose pitch to sci-fi was probably made with the bright and colorful alphabet fridge magnets his mommy and daddy gave him, seems to not understand that not even Steven Spielberg would be able to successfully sell a serious take on a film about crazy piranhas that look like GIFs bouncing in and out of the water. The cheap CGI, lazily choreographed action and shoddy editing (the video posted up above was not tampered in any way, and actually is horribly cut that way) is surprisingly the best thing about this movie. Certainly there can’t be a rationally thinking mind on this planet that would give a damn about the flimsily plotted international showdown between the US and South America, which I’m assuming was the original story Forsberg wanted to make.
How do you fix the problem? Duh, throw in some piranhas!
I guess there’s an argument one can legitimately make of the skill the actors show with the amazing amount of restraint on display here, given the amazingly atrocious dialogue they have coming out of their mouths. Tiffany, in particular, has the same blink-free stare for the entire film, as if she’s watching the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster of 1986 play on a constant loop. However, in her defense, her performance is on par with a Meryl Streep, Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn when put next to square-jawed Paul Logan. Maybe someone forgot to tell him what type of movie he was in, and you’d think the gigantic man-eating fish would’ve given it away, but he’s trying so hard to be the gruff, furrow-browed, deadly serious hero of the film (and fighting the bad guys on a car chase in what looks like a Toyota Camry will obviously help) he had to have mistaken this shoot for Black Hawk Down or something similar.
Lastly, given the way the film ends, I can’t help but assume that Forsberg and his crew just said, “Okay, that’s a wrap!” and called it good at some random point during the shoot. Sure, they managed to kill the big fish, but while the inexplicable, out of the blue sparked romance between Monroe and Fitch just suddenly pops up out of nowhere, all the heroes seem to have forgotten that there’s still about a hundred more piranhas left to go.
Congrats and feel free to celebrate, but while you two are locking lips under the Michael Bay sunset, all of Miami is being eaten alive by the deadly fish you left behind.
Taking itself too seriously for its own good, Mega Piranha is shot and cut like a poor man’s Jerry Bruckheimer production that reeks of crap-tastic filmmaking trying to disguise itself as a Tom Clancy thriller. That said, amidst the lousy visual effects, wooden acting and nonsensical story threads, I learned more from this film than any other that I’ve seen. I mean, who knew that dead hookers are actually quite buoyant in water, a Hyundai can outrun a Black Hawk helicopter, piranhas can explode on impact and Nerf guns are much more deadly than we ever imagined?