No, it’s not a spin-off of the “Mega Shark” series, nor a companion piece to Mega Python VS Gatoroid, despite being all produced by The Asylum. It’s that other type of Asylum movie, a mockbuster, but one incredibly desperate, in a way.
As in, the usually try to fool people by chasing after popular big budget production with cheap, fast features titled in a similar way to the movies they’re trying to indirectly rip-off, the plot is usually quite – if not completely – different.
Which is why we ended up with Transmorphers and stuff like Age Of Tomorrow, among many others. But, as i said, they usually do this with huge Hollywood productions, to feed from the crumbs left by the “actual movies” people went to see in theathers.
In this case, it just happens in 2010 we got a very loose remake of the original Piranha from 1978, Piranha 3D, handled by one of the better modern directors for horror and genre cinema, Alexandre Aja, and he definitely crafted a good modern B-movie in the spirit of old Roger Corman creature features, quite good, quite fun, which a direct sequel, Piranha 3DD, which went completely for total exploitation (almost Troma style), and was also quite fun in its own right.
So, it’s not exactly trying to “ape” a zillion budgeted blockbuster, quite the opposite, and since it’s a mockbuster, the plot is more a rip-off the 1978 Piranha more than the Alexandre Aja remake.
Yeah, aside from the basic premise of “genetically engineered piranhas”, here the killer animals escape from the isolated Amazon tributary thanks to people’s interference, and swim downstream eating all and everyone who happens to be in their path towards Florida. a special government agents is sent to intervene, all made harder by the Venezuelan government… and also due to the fuckin fishes being able to eat battleships and an entire nuclear submarine.
Directed and written by Eric Forsberg (who also penned Snakes On A Train, one of the first – if not the first – Asylum mockbusters), Mega Piranha is…. surprisingly kinda okay, for whatever reason it’s a decently put together dumb killer piranha flick, there are semi-decent sets (especially for the Asylum), the CG is cheap and shit (but there are some practical effects for the piranhas), the characters aren’t complete idiots so we don’t have to wait 1 hour for someone to figure out they could just try to shoot and bomb down the animals. Doesn’t work, of course, but still, nice try.
Don’t worry, though, there is plenty of dumb, including an entire subplot about the Venezuelan army chief thinking the scientist and every other “americanah” were CIA agents trying to pull off a coup or something, giant piranhas jumping into random buildings and exploding on impact, and the “mega piranhas” themselves being able to grow exponentially over time. As they do.
And this is another one recycles stock footage from previous Asylum movies, like including the aforementioned Transmorphers and Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus. But it’s kinda hard to tell because they recicle estabilishing shots and warships footage, which blends together anyway.
The cast is made of plenty Asylum regulars, and genre actors you might recognize from other B-movies, like Paul Logan (not that one), who was – among other ones – in The Curse Of The Komodo and the “sequel” Komodo VS Cobra, and here plays tough government agent Jason Flitch, also involved in the best part of the movie, as he bycicle-kicks the piranhas, that shit is funny, as is the flare gun kill with the crappy explosion.
Overall, Mega Piranha (because most people wouldn’t get “Peta Piranha”, i feel) is far less crap than you might think, and it mostly delivers if you know what to expect from an Asylum joint. There is enough monster action, some entertaining action (editing is still too “hyperactive” for its own sake), the narrative goes by at a decent pace towards the next dumb ass plot point. Slightly above average for the company, a surprisingly watchable piranha flick. The original Piranha is still better, though.