'Mega Piranha' has less than noble origins. Created as a mockbuster counter to 'Piranha,' which is a remake of a mockbuster of the same name from 1978, whose focus was to capitalize on the success of 'Jaws,' with this Asylum offering we have officially scraped the bottom of the imitation barrel. With all the tropes of the creature feature genre in place, this is one dangerously awful feature, and may be the final straw in what makes me give up on mega, super, or dino-whatevers for good, even before I view 'Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark.'
Scientists working in Venezuela have created a number of genetically engineered or altered animals, though one breed is going to come back and bite them in the ass. The tampered with piranhas have become deadly, doubling in size in less than two days, with six hour gestation periods creating a rapidly expanding army. These creatures are responsible for the death of a US ambassador (played by writer/director Eric Forsberg), and now tensions between the USA and the South American country are at an all-time high. With the scientists (including pop diva Tiffany) in tow, a US Navy Seal (Paul Logan) leads the attack against these creatures, but will soon find out that even with a US Destroyer...they're going to need a bigger boat.
Normally I can find some kind of redeeming value in these films, but this time, ain't nothin' keeping me from declaring this bastard of a movie my mortal enemy. Enough shots of Tiffany cleavage would have done it, or even a funnier role for former 'Brady Bunch'-er Greg Williams (now playing a Grady...ugh), or, dare I say, some seriously insane action would have won me over, even if barely, but this film doesn't even try to give us guilty reasons to like it. If anything, its dreadfully slow runtime seeks to give us reasons to hate the film.
Problem number one is the piranhas. While making them rapid-growing and reproducing (including throwaway lines claiming they're hermaphrodites to boot) ensures an army in no time, the main problem with the creature is viability. In this flick, a large amount of time is spent trying to contain the beasts before they spread to areas the United States gives a shit about (namely, the United States, in this instance), yet, that goes out the tubes when it's discovered that these mutant fish can go into saltwater, not just limiting them to fresh water streams. Firing at them from the air never works, yet we have numerous sequences following that idea. The fact is, every single attempt to stop this onslaught of hungry hungry fish doesn't work...yet large amounts of time keep being spent on worthless ideas, limiting the amount of carnage that can take place.
Of course, this being what it is, there has to be a massive dues-ex-machina ending, right? An out of nowhere last ditch save that ends the threat and leaves us with little more than our main characters? I don't believe I spoil the film for anyone when I say that the way this moment is written in ruins the movie. Hurting one fish ends the entire threat, as they go into a cannibalistic feeding frenzy, as if eating through submarines and naval destroyers wasn't providing them enough protein snacks inside. I can ignore the fact that at one point the piranha travel like a school of dolphins, leaping above water every few seconds. I can ignore the inconsistency with size (which could be explained by elder fish, baby fish). I can even ignore the moments where the fish jump onto land, crashing into buildings and exploding, leaving them to die. Kamikaze in nature, seems pretty cool. For Pete's sake, I can even forgive the moment when Logan bicycle kicks a series of fish that leap right at him away, despite the fact that they would logically have their mouths open and likely bite around where his foot is, effectively amputating it. This ending, though, is unforgivably bad.
This amateur effort stinks from start to finish. The opening scenes, with the busted as can be models in bikinis, tells us a lot. The fact that every character, down to the kids on the side of the road selling chiclets get a freeze frame black-and-white shot telling us their name, accompanied by a heavy bass thud, made me want to turn this disc into a frisbee. Shots of three inch long man nipples disturbed me, while the political subplot and human nemesis in this film took far too much time away from the fish action...or lack thereof. The body count is too low. The action is too sloppy. The writing is absolutely insane, with characters not capable of telling that a car no longer has passengers from even a few feet away. The weapons suck, including an underwater gun that is supposed to fire 120 shots a minute, yet we only see it fire one off every fifteen to twenty seconds. The film ends for no apparent reason other than the budget running out.
Folks, if you want to be forever soured from the schlocky effects and copy-paste writing of the modern creature feature, watch 'Mega Piranha.' I was once an addict, shaking in anticipation of my next SyFy or Corman fix. But now, I can say, I won't look back. I've conquered my disease, and I'm here to tell you about it. I'm Nate Boss, and I'm done with this shit.
Does anyone expect quality from a disc that's part Echo Bridge, part Asylum? Didn't think so. 'Mega Piranha' is a high def loser in 1080p. While it doesn't have entire screens of macroblocking like other Asylum titles, there are enough issues in this release to keep one from partaking in this disc. Skin tones and contrast are regularly jumpy and uneven, with no consistency to the picture. "Venezuela" is regularly a golden earth tone, but can be regular tinted, and skin and detail levels wear the ever-changing aesthetics like a gauge. Facial features are sorely lacking, as are fine details in general. Artifacting and banding can be readily spotted underwater, while even sky shots have significant color layering issues. Noise can spike on this picture to create a heavily gritty look on a film that's hard to focus on anyways due to the shaky, dipping camera style employed to shoot this feature. Zoomed shots feature light blocking, while random establishing shots of cities or even a destroyer look like they're disintegrating under two hundred degree heat, with odd waves and a crumbly texture. This one is for the dogs.
The audio on 'Mega Piranha' is presented with an almost passable DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix that may be one of the most bizarre tracks I've heard in some time. Dialogue can be clear...it can be, but it can also be stilted and sometimes garbled, and occasionally muted and difficult to understand. On one occasion, the volume cuts out in time for an obscenity (though other uses are not altered). That's not even the beginning of the strangeness. There's no consistency. Much like how the piranhas are sometimes as big as a foot, and other times twice as big as a helicopter, power in gunfire, attacks, or bass rumbles jumps around with no rhyme or reason. The only consistency is the way the track has a low bass slam when we are told the name of a character or a location, coupled with the freeze frame in black and white. This track has meager separation at best, and can be utterly anemic when it wants to be.
This barebones release doesn't even have a menu. It doesn't have a single trailer before the film starts, let alone for this movie. This is as barren as they come. I'm surprised there are even scene selection and chapter stops!
'Mega Piranha' has proven to be the last straw. The more I think about what I just watched, the more I realize that I shouldn't be doing this to myself. The way these Blu-rays keep being among the worst of the worst doesn't help matters. There really are no more excuses I can make; I'm just tired of seeing the exact same film over and over again, with (sometimes) different actors and a new CG villain. This Blu-ray is dirt cheap, but it may be better for your Blu-ray player to have dirt crammed in the disc slot. It would certainly make more sense than buying this pile of crap and dedicating an hour and a half to watching it.