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Thursday, August 30, 2012

PIRANHA 3DD -- DVD review by porfle

What if they made a SyFy Channel original movie but with a much bigger budget, and they got John Gulager (FEAST) to direct it, and he spent half the extra money on better SPFX and the other half on pure, unadulterated stupid? 

Well, 2012's PIRANHA 3DD (or, just PIRANHA DD if you're watching the flat version) may not be a SyFy Channel flick but it might as well be one because, for me anyway, it exists in the same goofy, insubstantial "take it or leave it" zone as all the sharktocrocs and dinogators.

Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) returns home from college to find that her sleazy stepdad Chet (David Koechner) has stocked their family-owned water park with "water-certified strippers" as lifeguards and has installed a special Adult Pool that's like an aquatic nudie bar. 

With the park's grand opening looming, marine biologist Maddy discovers that the underground lake Chet's been illegally drilling into for free water also contains ravenous prehistoric piranha that threaten to start chowing down on all those tasty pool patrons.

With an opening that features Gary Busey and Clu Gulager as old-timers accidentally blowing up a flatulence-spewing cow (which also happens to be filled with piranha eggs), you'd expect PIRANHA 3DD to be a total spoof from start to finish. 

But despite all the farcical touches--including a corpulent park employee who's constantly humping the water jets and ends up with a live piranha lodged up his ying-yang--much of it is played straight, or at least as straight as the more "serious" movies of this kind. 

Teenagers pair off and get attacked before, during, and after sex, with the usual lame attempts at comedy relief thrown in before the carnage begins.  Since we've seen all this stuff a thousand times before, and since the movie isn't doing much to funny it up more than usual, it's not all that exciting. 

Only when virginal Shelby (Katrina Bowden) and Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) finally go "all the way" after their initial aborted attempt does something really over-the-top occur, which may have viewers of both genders crossing their legs.

Maddy, whose story is also told pretty much straight here, gets young cop Kyle (Chris Zylka) and nerdy park employee Barry (Matt Bush), who's had a crush on her since childhood, to help her try and head off the impending piranha attack.  They visit an expert on the subject played by Christopher Lloyd, who, believe it or not, actually gives one of the more subdued performances in the film as the usual "Mr. Wizard" type who supplies us with all the exposition we need to prepare us for what's to come. 

Naturally, the big draw here is the extravaganza of blood 'n' guts that will take place on the water park's opening day, and director Gulager pretty much goes all out with the gore effects along with the expected shots of big, bouncing double-D's coming at the camera in glorious slow-motion 3D.  The sequence is a frenetic, choppily-edited mess really, but by this point it doesn't really matter as long as there's lots of gory stuff happening and plenty of T and A flying at us. 

Oddly, it's here that the film finally becomes the all-out comedy we expect, with David Hasselhoff hilariously spoofing his "Baywatch" image as a guest celebrity lifeguard (and appearing to enjoy himself immensely while doing it) and Ving Rhames reprising his role as the now-legless Sheriff Fallon from the 2010 PIRANHA remake, picking the wrong day to try and overcome his fear of water ("I ain't afraid of no punk-ass water," he chants to himself before the piranha attack).  The final gag is, admittedly, pretty outlandish.

The 3D Blu-Ray/Blu-Ray/DVD (plus Digital Copy) 3-disc combo pack from Anchor Bay and the Weinsteins is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish.  Extras include a filmmakers' commentary track, deleted scenes, a short film featuring John McEnroe, and the following featurettes--"The Story Behind the DD", "The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff", "Wet and Wild with David Koechner", and "Busey's Bloopers."  The marathon end credits crawl also features lots of bloopers, outtakes, etc. 

PIRANHA 3DD isn't the worst film of its kind I've ever seen, but it's far from being the best.  (Actually, I'm not even sure what the "best" film of this particular kind would look like.)  It looks pretty good, is competently made, and has just about everything we expect from it, all coming at us in 3D.  But somehow it just isn't quite as entertaining as those low-budget exploitation flicks with Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley that usually ended up on USA's "Up All Night."

Buy it at

3D Blu-Ray/Blu-Ray/DVD


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