Starring: Tiffany, Paul Logan, David Labiosa
“I’ve figured it out. It wasn’t the explosion that killed him, and it wasn’t terrorists… it was giant piranha. Yes, giant piranha.” (Jason Fitch, Mega Piranha)
Mega Piranha is at times hilarious and depressing. The hilarity comes with the disbelief that a film can really be so bad, whereas the depression hits you when you realise there are properly ‘real’ actors struggling for roles who would have been up for at least trying to give a film about 30-foot piranha a modicum of credibility.
Syfy’s creature feature productions are bad at the best of times but this film is a shambles on every level, starting with the plot. Some generic ambassador or other is killed in Venezuela, so the US military send out a special agent built like a brick shithouse to investigate it and see if it someone assassinated him. When he gets there he realises it wasn’t an assassination but rather death by piranha – big piranha. He then teams up with former ‘80s pop sensation Tiffany (who’s apparently a scientist) and some other guy with a rubbish goatee to destroy the piranha, all while some weird Venezuelan soldier guys are chasing them for some reason.
If it seems like I perhaps struggled to stay on top of the story for this one, you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s little wonder though given how ridiculously fast it chucks everything at you. Establishing shots are replaced with two-second shots of people walking fast or ominous buildings with a big Impact font subtitle sliding in saying “HANK ROBERTS, HEAD OF INTELLIGENCE” or “MILITARY INTELLIGENCE HEADQUARTERS PACIFIC DIVISION” or something like that, and by the time you get your head round what you just read they’re halfway through the next inane piece of dialogue about how “these things are getting bigger” and how in four hours’ time they’ll be big enough to swallow Harlem or something, I don’t know.
Meanwhile, the quality of the acting is so shocking you start to wonder if this maybe wasn’t some sort of joke. Tiffany couldn’t act her way out of an open door and buff action ‘hero’ Paul Logan’s voice is so needlessly deep and bass-heavy that earthworms picking up the vibrations in the dirt were making better sense of what he was saying than I was. Then there’s the ‘Venezuelan’ bad guy who regularly forgets he’s supposed to be Venezuelan and slips into a New York accent.
Let’s not forget the hideous CGI effects (the piranha are laughable and the bigger they get the less the CGI chap seems to bother, eventually just sticking splashes and shadows in the water that genuinely look like anyone could do it) and piss-poor editing (in one scene one of the characters is seen sitting down in one shot, then standing up in the next, then sitting down again FIVE times in a row) that both combine to make this less a case of “what’s going to happen to the piranha” and more “how much shitter is this film going to get”. I lost it near the end when a nuclear attack (seriously) destroyed a whole lake of piranha but seemingly didn’t affect the ducks still clearly seen swimming about.
Mega Piranha expertly walks the line between so-bad-it’s-good and so-bad-it’s-shite. As an achievement in filmmaking it fails miserably on every possible level, but if you’re the sort who takes pleasure in laughing at bad editing and direction as much as the usual bad acting and script, then you’ll be in hog’s heaven here. Anyone simply looking for a decent film though will be let down. Just watch the trailer below instead, it makes things look a lot more exciting than they really are.