Sunday, 17 June 2012

Piranha 3DD

One year after a devastating attack from prehistoric piranhas, Lake Victoria, a once bustling spring break vacation spot, is a ghost town, abandoned by everyone. Meanwhile, in a town which is somewhere far away but not too far away from Lake Victoria, Maddy has returned home for the summer to oversee the running of the water park she part owns with her step father, Chet. To her horror, he has transformed it into a garish, adult themed park with 'water-certified strippers' instead of lifeguards and an adult pool with built-in 'cootch cam'. Chet's biggest change though is the illegal water pump supplying water to the park from an underground lake, where the prehistoric piranhas are waiting... And evolving...

Remember when Piranha 3D came out in the summer of 2010? Everybody loved it. It became one of those 'must see' films amongst teens and casual film goers because of how much fun it was. Piranha never took itself too seriously, it was self-aware grindhouse at its finest with a host of celebrity cameos (including THAT scene with Kelly Brook) and more than a handful of blood, guts, and gore, all tied together with some cheesy, laughable dialogue. More importantly, it made a surprising amount of money for Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and plans for a sequel were immediately put in place. However, it retained none of the original writers, nor the director. Instead, the writers of Saw 3D wrote the film to be directed by the man who brought the Feast franchise to the screen. Can you not see this going horribly wrong already? Well, it did. Drastically.

Piranha 3DD had a lot to live up to, to be fair, but it falls down on pretty much every point where Piranha 3D excelled. It's far too self-aware and loses its charm, the nudity is gratuitous and not sparing in order to keep the audience wanting, the gore is disturbingly sparse, losing its humour, and there aren't any shocks, surprises or tension-building moments. I'll give it this, Piranha 3DD is funny, but unintentionally so. The dialogue isn't 'self-aware bad', it's just plain bad and, at times, ludicrous. When one of the lead characters comes out with the line "Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina", it's funny for all the wrong reasons. It's lines like that that just seem to exemplify the attitude of the writers. There was so much potential for higher thrills, better and gorier deaths, and the chance to do something different in this, but they've just gone ahead and made a sloppier, lazier version of the original, and that's probably the most disappointing aspect of all.

Probably the best thing is about this film is the appearance of David Hasselhoff, and that speak volumes in itself. He (shockingly) plays a washed-up, self-obsessed, fictionalised version of himself well, and comes across as genuinely apathetic in the face of the chaos and terror happening all around him. Elsewhere, Danielle Panabaker as Maddy is cookie cutter in this, given a typical role of the heroine who tries to stop everything happening but fails, leaving her to try and save everyone, though she's not helped by some poor dialogue and lack of character development, something which blights everyone in this. Her two romantic interests are typical bad guy and good guy, nothing special at all. Katrina Bowden gets the worst of it though, having to play the scream queen when she's clearly not cut out for it. Her dialogue, in particular, is atrocious, including the aforementioned line about something coming out of her vagina. David Koechner makes the same kind of appearance he now makes in every film; playing a more evil, worse version of Champ Kind from Anchorman. Christopher Lloyd's cameo is just a reminder of how good he is at playing an eccentric scientist, and Paul Scheer and Ving Rhames make a welcome return, though it's never explained why exactly the two of them are now friends in this, and their appearances are fleeting at most.

The biggest problem with the writing of Piranha 3DD is that the writers seems to have acted like a bunch of frat boys. There are SO. MANY. BOOBS in this, I actually started to get bored. And I love boobs. They also included as many crude double entendres as possible, and substituted those in for actual dialogue. There was no tension built throughout, there was no inventiveness in either plot or story: Water-based scenario established, piranhas come back, major bloodbath at water-based scenario, piranhas defeated. No surprises. It also comes in at a shockingly short 71 minutes. That's not a film, that's an episode of a TV series. This film has direct-to-video written all over it and yet it managed to score a wider release and more publicity than the better original. Nice try, Weinsteins, but no-one's buying it. The box-office should tell you that.

Overall, this is just a bad film. The original had charm and got the balance of everything just right. This one is all over the place. It would have been bad enough if this was just a copy, but somehow they managed to make a real hash of recreating what was a winning formula. I was really looking forward to this after the first one, and this has disappointed me so badly. If you liked the first one, don't see this, save yourself. If you didn't like the first one, definitely don't watch this, you'll want to tear your eyes out. If you didn't even see the first one, still don't watch this, go back and watch Piranha 3D, it's s much better than this money-making exercise. Oh, and the piranhas look crap this time.

Rating: 1/2