Saturday, February 13, 2010

Piranha 2: The Spawning

Having never seen Piranha 2, James Cameron’s debut film, I decided to use the current Navi obsession sweeping the nation as an opportunity to check out Piranha 2. After all this is James Cameron we’re talking about, teamed with Roger Corman. This is also Piranha we’re talking about, possibly my all time favorite movie to come from the Corman stable.

The orginal Piranha is a wicked black comedy/creature feature from Joe Dante. Infused by Dante’s anarchic sensibilities, possessing a likable cast, scripted by the absurdly over qualified John Sayles, and with a vein of exceedingly nasty black comedy (Kids and Puppies, not safe) Piranha is simply put a great time at the movies. With a similarly over qualified pedigree could a neglected little masterpiece be hiding behind the cheesy title and bargain basement production values?


Still I liked it better then Avatar. I’m being facetious, (or am I?) but Piranha 2 is such a bizarrely incompetent film, bungling on so many level’s that I’d would be surprised the director managed to learn to tie his shoes on his own, never mind becoming the man I consider to be one of the greatest cinematic innovators of all time.

In terms of acting, production values, and scripting, Piranha 2 is barely a step above porn, and it features about as much nudity and sex as your average porno as well. The film starts out with a couple engaging in some vigorous underwater fucking only to be eaten by large angry fish. As promising of an opening that may be, the film falls into a disappointing lull from which it never recovers. Hope you enjoyed that shot of mutant piranahas because it’s the last time you’re going to see them for about forty minutes.

The rest of the film is spent at a hoighty toity tropical beach resort where we get to watch the wacky antics of whoever wandered onto the set that day. Most of the film follows Lance Henrikson (playing a standard hero which is a bit like watching Christopher Walken play a romantic lead) as the resort’s harbor cop who must stop the mutant Piranahas, his estranged wife as the diving instructor who stumbles upon the mutant Piranha’s, and their annoying moppety son whose taking a rich family out on a boat tour and is often in danger of being eaten by the mutaunt Piranhas.

When I say it takes a long time to get to the Piranahas I mean it takes alooooooonnnnggg time to get to the Piranahas. We instead get to watch the antics of the Islanders which are broad even by Corman standards. Including Gold diggers! Old Horny Women! Bikini Clad Grifters! Jovial Rastafarian Dynamite Fishermen! And a Manager who describes everything in disturbingly graphic sadio masochistic terms! Thank God we have their shennagins or else we might have been forced to watch boring stuff. You know like killer mutant flying fish!

Of course when the piranhas do attack its hardly an improvement, the chintzy effects and laughable amateurish acting creating a nightmarish litany of scenes like this.

And This

OK that last one was pretty cool

Yes as you may have gathered the Piranha’s have no problem being mobile on land for reason’s too stupid to relate..

Thanks to such scenes where Henrikson crashes his helicopter with little reason Piranha 2 does in the end work as camp if nothing else. Barely. As much as I hate to admit it Piranha 2: The Spawning Is an entertaining film, but not something I’d attempt with less then six beers on hand.


Franco Macabro said...

With the upcoming Piranha remake, Im looking forward to revisiting these two films, haven't seen them in ages, but I want to see how two legendary filmmakers started out. Its always fun to see their semi amateurish beginnings. I find it so interesting to see how great directs often times start out making horror films.

Bryce Wilson said...

So does one of my readers from Minnesota wish to enlighten me why I'm faced with an absolute torrent of Piranha 2 love from your corner of the country? Not that I'm not flattered, but its just the type of statistical anomaly that gives one pause.