I'll be honest: I didn't see piranha 3D (2010). That film looked fun, had girls in bikinis, gore, Ving Rhames kicking aquatic ass and Kelly Brook. All in glorious 3D! But alas, I missed it in the cinema and just haven't gotten around to watching it yet. However I am a fan of intentional B movies that are just made for the sole purpose of being fun for the audience. These films don't win any big awards but are loved by the type of viewer who doesn't take cinema as seriously as the rest (pretentious film students, I'm talking about you!!).
So I heard that the plot for the first film went something like this: spring break at a lake, some divers discover an underwater cave with prehistoric badass piranha eggs, girls in bikinis get naked, the piranhas hatch and attack every thing moving, lots of gore, Ving Rhames being a badass!
So for this sequel I'm expecting boobs, gore, comedy, and generally a fun movie which won't take itself seriously. And I should add that I am reviewing the 2D version of the film.
The plot is minimal, but the film opens with a fake news broadcast highlight the events of the first film a year ago, and asking where the piranhas will appear next. Marine biologist Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) returns to her home town to discover her stepfather Chet (David Koechner) is planning to open an adult themed water park called ‘The Big Wet'. So that explains the naked ladies. However the piranhas have spawned in the local lake which the park takes its water from, and thanks to some exposition from Christopher Lloyd's mad marine biologist, we discover that the piranhas can swim up pipes and will no doubt attack the water park on its opening day. Oh yeah, it also has David Hasselhoff as the park's celebrity lifeguard to save the day from the piranhas.
Does this film sound serious to you? Nope, but that's because it's just a fun ride! It's often predictable, over the top and just silly. The formula of ‘teens about to/having sex and then dying in a nasty fashion' is here but we also have a love triangle between Maddy, her old flame Kyle (Chris Zylka), who's now a crooked cop, and Barry (Mat Bush), a dorky water park employee who's handy with a trident. Makes you wonder who's going to get the girl and what they're going to do with their trident…
Unlike its predecessor, this film was shot entirely in 3D and I would have liked to have seen that version. This film is littered with gimmicky shots designed to poke your eyes out, but I would have definitely enjoyed a more immersive viewing experience than this 2D edition, especially with the gore. Speaking of which, this film is brutal and doesn't hold back, but is very much in the vein of Itchy and Scratchy cartoons. But with added boobies. Some moments made me laugh out loud and it pulls no punches, especially in the scene where a character loses her virginity, and the man loses, well, just watch it.
As for the humour there are some terrific one liners from various characters, especially from one Mr. David Hasselhoff. This film plays up his character and the legend that he is. He has the majority of the film's scene stealing moments, my favourite being when a kid thinks he's a real lifeguard. But he is not the only actor who has surprise cameos. Gary Busey is hilarious in the film's opening and Christopher Lloyd is great with his obsession with his YouTube hits and his theories on walking piranhas. Ving Rhames returns briefly for a scene that is reminiscent of Planet Terror (2007) and had me in stitches with just how bad ass he is.
Director John Gulager must have had so much fun making this film and was inspired by the sort of video nasties that I used to watch as a child, which have minimal plot, wooden acting and buckets of cheese and gore. One plus of the film is how it builds suspense. We all know these characters are two dimensional and mainly just fodder, but there are a few times in this film where I was sucked in and really hoped someone would survive. A soundtrack consisting of shrieking violins also helps to build the suspense but still remains cheesy and fun.
The cinematography (minus some excellent use of slow motion) and every other technical aspects of this film are generic, but I am not going to be as critical as I am towards the next Paul Thomas Anderson film (which I can't wait for!). However my main issue with this film is the short runtime. It ended at the 68 minute mark, and had eight minutes of bloopers, deleted scenes and a mini music video before the credits!
The film's opening is great and the pace is good until the love triangle develops and slows things down. But then slams back into gear once Christopher Lloyd and Ving Rhames appear, and the last 20 minutes is carnage which is a joy to watch. And as tradition in these kinds of horror films: it sets up part three.
The special features include a commentary by director John Gulager, producer Joel Soisson and co-writer Marcus Dunsten, as well as a brief making of featurette, ‘Behind the DD', which basically shows you how much fun they had making this film, but spoils the whole movie (so don't watch it before you see the movie). One extra that I think should be on every DVD is ‘The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff'. Here we have another brief documentary, but this one focuses entirely on the Hoff! He lampoons his image, himself, and the religion of the Hoff and you get to hear him say ‘wanker'. ‘Wet and wild with David Koechner' shows goofy interviews intercut with film clips and behind the scenes footage, while the funny and random short 'A Lesson with John McEnroe' is worth a watch. You also get two short deleted scenes and ‘Busey's bloopers', which prove he's crazy but hilarious.
Overall Verdict: Ultimately it's a great Saturday night film, which pays homage to Troma and other trash cinema before it. Turn your brain off. This is an enjoyably silly and fun ride. With fish.
Audio commentary with director John Gulager, producer Joel Soisson and co-writer Marcus Dunsten
‘Behind the DD' Featurette
‘The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff' Featurette
‘Wet and wild with David Koechner' Featurette
'A Lesson with John McEnroe' Featurette
Reviewer: George Elcombe