Update: New Piranha 3D review online here.
A few weeks ago, just pre: Avatar‘s release, I saw a hype interview for Avatar with James Cameron. The interviewer (justifiably) crapped on and on about all the great stuff Cameron has made over his career, focussing on T2 and Titanic before commencing to fawn about Avatar for the next 12 minutes, with Cameron contributing about 5 smug “you know it” comments without actually talking himself up for fear of any “King of the World” backlash.
Then the interviewer did the but you know he wasn’t always this successful bit, you know when the guy drags out a clip of the interviewee when he/she was a kid in a commercial or something.
In Cameron’s case it was a little different, him being a director and all, so the clip was a 20 second burst of Piranha 2: The Spawning, his first film from the 80’s, a low budget drive-in special.
Cameron’s response? “Yeah but it was the best flying piranha movie ever made!”
Now I still realised that this was a movie with a 99% chance of suckage but I thought rather than warm up for Avatar with T2 or Aliens for the 27th time, I’d watch a couple of his earlier efforts including yes:
Piranha 2 – The Spawning. The finest flying piranha movie ever made.
P2 – Judgement Day is set in Saint Anna in the Carribean and focusses mostly on one family really, which is lucky so Cameron doesn’t have to spend too much time introducing new characters. Luckily the family includes a much younger Lance Henriksen as the local cop, (holding true to his credo of doing just as much shitty stuff as good stuff), and also a young ugly kid who happens to be his son, and his mum who is a driving instructor.
The first half of the film can’t decide what it wants to be, so it is a wannabe sex comedy, only without the sex and the comedy.
Even without the sex though there is much random toplessness. The amusing sign of the times is that there is a noticeable lack of enhancement surgery if you know what I mean, which in this case wasn’t a bad thing as the 44DD era has been going for so long that sometimes a change is as good as a holiday.
About half way through though it seems that the movie studio got the dailies through and demanded some flying killer fish. From this point the movie faithfully follows the normal horror conventions. Sex = death, being naughty = death etc…
But how the fuck do you justify flying killer fish?
You blame the army that’s how!
So now we have genetically altered flying killer fish with bloodlust. As a vacationer how does one escape that?
Run? Wave your arms? Lie down with your hands over your head?
Wear a hat?
Or you could go inside and shut the door, no-one seems to think is a good idea, in this film at least.
The ending could only come from a drive in special such as this, at least one with geteically altered flying killer fish, they blow up the fish’s lair. So the school of piranha are fortunately planning to all be in the same spot at the same time apparently.
Does it work? Who cares, just the fact that Cameron tried it in the first place is enough for me.
There is practically no SFX in this film aside from some lousy fish stuff, which is justifiable given that the budget of P2 would now be James Cameron’s lunch money for one day on the set of Avatar.
P2 is the best thing that could happen when you decide to make a sequel to a killer fish film.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. Amusing in a retro unintentional way, but you could blow 90 minutes in worse ways.