August 9, 2010
Starring: Paul Logan, Tiffany, Barry Williams, David Labiosa, Jude Gerard Prest, Jesse Daly, Cooper Harris, William Morse, Clint Browning, Matt Lagan, Jonathan Nation, Jesel Ortloff, Lola Forsberg, Jillian Easton, Joseph Porter,
Jesus Christ. Where do I start with this one?
The Asylum is a studio rapidly acquiring fame for their ‘mockbusters’; films that have familiar titles and DVD covers, quite possibly designed to hornswaggle unwary grandparents into buying what they think is the latest box office smash for their grandchildren. Exhibit A, m’lud; Transmorphers: Fall of Man. In what must surely be a cosmic coincidence, The Asylum has released their take on the feared South American dwelling predators in the same month that Piranha 3D hits cinemas nationwide.
Thees ees the jongle, Meester Feetch
The plot unfolds thus: the US ambassador to Venezuela goes missing, along with a gaggle of busty beauties, during a boat trip along the Orinoco River. In order to defuse an international incident, Fitch (Paul Logan), a Special Forces lunkhead with abs you could grate cheese on, is sent in to investigate. As soon as he lands in Venezuela he is accosted by scientist Dr Munroe (played by 80’s pop neonate Tiffany, looking mumsy) who tells him that the ambassador had been munched down like a Twix by an experimental strain of piranha that escaped the lab. Of course, his nemesis in the Venezuelan army, Colonel Diaz (David Labiosa), doesn’t believe him. After Fitch obtains evidence that the pesky piscines are holed up near a dam, Diaz takes a squad of helicopters on a night mission to destroy them with rockets. With crushing predictability, Diaz bombs the dam to smithereens, unleashing the genetically engineered fish.
What follows is a race against time, as Fitch, Munroe and a couple of other scientists try to stop the vicious fishy bastards, which by now are doubling in size every few hours, from reaching Florida. To add to their woes, Diaz is in hot pursuit as he believes that the piranha are an American plot to overthrow his country.
It wasn’t terrorists – it was giant piranha!
There’s so much wrong with this film, I don’t know where to begin. Any attempt at applying logic to it will result in an aneurysm.
There are several truly dumb things that stand out. As the piranha get bigger and travel further down the river, for absolutely no reason at all they begin jumping out of the water into buildings… and exploding.
In a scene that is possibly the highlight of the movie, Fitch kickboxes a dozen of them senseless; lying on the bank of a harbour, they jump towards him one at a time and he dispatches them in a flailing, cackhanded way that put me in mind of the great John Saxon in Enter the Dragon.
After the US navy fail to destroy the fish with a tactical nuclear assault, Fitch and a bunch of scuba divers are sent to shoot them… with guns. Special underwater guns that work underwater, and were designed to “take out nuclear subs“, underwater. Whilst they’re swimming about, taking potshots, they’re talking to each other via radio even though they’ve got scuba mouthpieces clamped firmly in their gobs. Even Ray Allen couldn’t have managed that one with Lord Charles.
All this is before I start ranting about the lamest car chase in history (where the continuity is so bad, the make of car keeps changing mid chase), the terrible acting, risible dialogue, dubbing that even a Mr Muscle advert would laugh at and the fact that the makers pilfered Deep Blue Sea‘s best scene (yes, there was one).
At the start of the film, Fitch has the best ideas to deal with the problem – zap ’em with electricity or tip acid into the water – but these are dismissed as “electricity might make them breed”, even though later on it’s established that they’re hermaphrodites and don’t need to do the nasty to have baby piranha. I won’t give the ending away, but considering that these fish are f*cking nuclear bomb proof, it’s breathtakingly stupid.
We’ll stop them alright, but the Greenpeacers won’t like it!
I had seen Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus, starring Debbie Gibson, before this, so I knew what to expect. Despite myself, I enjoyed it, and I’m pleased to say that this is a much better film. It’s not weighed down with exposition, and moves along at a fair old clip. Of course, the effects are terrible, but this just adds to the charm of seeing a piranha the size of a yacht chewing on a nuclear submarine or leaping out of the sea to snatch a helicopter. Even though tongues are firmly in cheeks, there are still some unintentional laughs to be had; take the scene transitions, for instance. In an effort to emulate shows like 24, they are all accompanied by a swoosh, a bang, and speeded up footage that has the protagonists looking like they’re in a Benny Hill chase sketch. Using the same footage for it time and again just makes it funnier.
If you check your brain in at the door before watching this, I guarantee you will love it. The only thing it’s lacking is the presence of Happy Shopper Steven Seagal, Lorenzo Lamas. I wonder how The Asylum will top this, and I suspect a Tiffany/Debbie Gibson smackdown may be on the cards. If so, I want to be in on it at the ground floor – my script for Laser Crab Vs Sea Cucumber is on its way to them as I speak…