Piranha 3DD Blu-ray Review
Written by Joel Harley
Blu-ray released by EIV
Directed by John Gulager
Written by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Joel Soisson
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 83 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 3rd September 2012
Danielle Panabaker as Maddie
Matt Bush as Barry
Katrina Bowden as Shelby
David Koechner as Chet
Chris Zylka as Kyle
David Hasselhoff as Himself
Batman beyond, past the assembling Avengers and up the road from The Cabin in the Woods, one of my most anticipated films of 2012 was this 3D booby movie. I even made an exception to my “not paying to see that in 3D” rule for it, such was my level of anticipation for Piranha 3DD. Alexandre Aja's Piranha is only the second 3D movie I have ever enjoyed (the other definitely not being Avatar) so I was well and truly on board for this sequel.
Aja may have jumped ship, but the water remains infested with bloodthirsty piranha. Also back for seconds are Christopher Lloyd and Ving Rhames. Both are underutilised, but still get more to do than they had in the film's predecessor. In this case, the piranha have only the second most scary set of fangs in the water – its opening sequence features Gary Busey in all his toothy glory. The 3D is especially well utilised as the Busey uses his impressive choppers to gnash the head off a piranha and spit it at the camera. This opening scene does a great job of setting up the tone, starring as it does an insane celebrity, a farting cow and some ridiculous violence.
Where Aja's Piranha took its time setting up the scenes of carnage which followed in the second half, this sequel has even less time for subtlety (bearing in mind that Piranha was hardly Jaws itself). Before the big event at the end, the film is littered with smaller but no less gruesome scenes of violence throughout, as well as lashings of unrestrained nudity and sleaze. David Koechner guarantees the forthcoming filth as he prepares for the opening of his waterpark 'The Big Wet' (complete with an adults' only pool set aside especially for skinny dipping). Koechner's character probably has a name, but he's essentially playing the same crude buffoon as in Anchorman and Final Destination 5. As they are, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, Gary Busey and David Koechner are a cast to be reckoned with. But Piranha 3DD's coup de grace is its guest star and the waterpark's celebrity lifeguard, David Hasselhoff.
The Hoff gamely sends his own persona up so adorably that his portrayal of himself might just be my favourite performance of 2012. It's like a more adult version of his scene in The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie. (Too) much has been made of the “Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina” line, but it's Hasselhoff's delivery of “little ginger moron” that really deserves the praise (although Ving Rhames comes out with some corkers too). And forget Thanos, Piranha 3DD has the best post-credits sequence of the year.
Of course, this is not a film without its flaws. Not everyone will warm to the over the top gore and sleaze, while the younger characters (or indeed, anyone who isn't one of the grizzled supporting actors) are all boring and annoying. It looks cheaper than its predecessor too, with the scale much less impressive than the original's mighty lake. A piranha invasion of a waterpark seems ridiculous – just get out of the water, already! Some of the smut seems desperate (Josh cutting off his own knob is less amusing compared to poor Jerry O' Connell's fate back in the previous film) and the CGI piranha are still rubbish. Above all, it's obvious that John Gulager lacks the directorial flair of Alexandre Aja, who somehow managed to make his remake seem like more than the sum of its parts. Piranha 3DD might be one of the stupidest films of 2012, but it's also amongst the most enjoyable.
Where it was mildly disappointing on the big screen, Piranha 3DD seems a lot more at home on DVD or Blu-Ray. Its intricacies are perhaps best enjoyed with a couple of beers and space to cheer every time the Hoff appears onscreen. “Who wants to party with the Hoff?” Koechner screams at his baying crowd of nubile hotties. Sign me up.
Video and Audio:
Too often I have whined about new releases being dark and grimy. Piranha 3DD does not suffer from that problem in the slightest. After all, how are you supposed to see all the nudity with the lights turned off? It sounds good too, especially once a certain Hoff starts singing. 'Love Hunter' isn't quite as catchy as 'Jump in my Car', but it'll do.
The Blu-Ray contains a plethora of extras, consisting of a commentary (no Hoff, unfortunately), deleted scenes, bloopers, a Making Of and trailers. There's a lot of extra Hoff in a feature called The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff, which sees the actor wearing a 'Don't Hassel the Hoff' t-shirt and succinctly summarising the script thusly: “bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, me.” Koechner and Busey have short featurettes to themselves too, in which Koechner enthuses about the film's nudity and Busey mugs about for some terrifying bloopers (“a fart is Feeling A Rectal Transmission”). Bizarrely, there's also a short film about tennis with John McEnroe.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are publicity stills and not a reflection of the Blu-ray image.*