The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mega Piranha (2010)

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I was initially hesitant to review this, because it's listed on imdb as a TV movie, and I seldom do those. The three examples that come to mind all involve Hall of Famers, Blackjack, Raptor Island, and Mercenary. When I looked into this one, though, I found that it was essentially an Asylum film, only in this case they were able to give SyFy first dibs, making it a DTV film on TV. Plus, the movie looked like a lot of fun, so why be such a stickler all the time, right?

Mega Piranha is about some genetically altered piranhas in Venezuela that attack a US diplomat and a Venezuelan politician and eat them. The US thinks it's a terrorist attack, and they send beefcake Paul Logan down to investigate. At the same time, a trio of scientists, Tiffany among them, know that these are genetically altered piranhas that are causing the deadly stink, they just can't convince anyone. Luckily, Logan goes under water and sees some himself, killing one and bringing the rubbery evidence back for everyone to see. From there it all devolves into people not doing what they should, getting in the way, and the piranhas growing to epic proportions, eating anything metal or human in their path.

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This was pretty sweet. I mean, you had so many hilarious parts, especially with the CGI fish jumping out of the water and exploding into buildings, or our hero kicking them while lying on his back. The thing is, I guess, how much can you make a movie about that? The films of the 50s and 60s they're doing a send up of usually ran about an hour long, and this one was closer to 85 after the credits are taken out. There was a lot of stringing out scenes that weren't very suspenseful in a way that was more annoying than fun. A car chase that goes on longer than it should. Three or four too many scenes of the people chasing them getting closer. A couple extra gratuitous shots of a clock ticking before something is done just in time. It had that feeling that I find in a lot of Asylum's films, that I really endured something, as opposed to enjoyed a movie. Fun, but annoying at times.

Now, don't get me wrong, this had it's moments. No, it wasn't Titanic II, but at the very least, you could tell the people putting this together "got it", which is more than we can say for a lot of the Asylum's efforts. I wonder if because they put this on SyFy, that they had to deliver 90 minutes in order to fit their time slots, because then I could maybe give them more of a pass on the padding. As an aside, I should mention the term "padding", because it's often used as a catch all to describe shortcomings in films when people don't really know how else to explain why a film didn't work for them. That's not what I'm doing in this case. For instance, there was a constant repetition of the same or similar shots, like when a helicopter was leaking fuel, so we saw the fuel gauge numbers running down. It's funny to go back to the gauge once and see the number greater than it was before, but five times is too much, especially when we know what's going to happen. Once is funny, five times is padding-- and annoying. There was really no padding in the plot or superfluous segments of dialog though. I don't know, it felt like going to a party with someone else driving, and the night is over, and you're ready to leave, and the person who drove you there acts like he or she is ready to leave too, but stands in the doorway for fifteen minutes conversing with party host, when you're like in your head screaming "come dude, let's get moving for God's sake!"

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80s pop princess (so described in her imdb bio) Tiffany is in this. I don't really know what the thinking was behind her outfit and hairdo, but it was very unflattering, making her look like a soccer mom. I mean, she is 39, and does have an 18-year-old son, but I imagine in real life, she doesn't look like a soccer mom, nor would she want to look like a soccer mom unless she was playing one for her role. And I'm not saying soccer moms can't be hot, I'm saying this was like an outfit and hairdo that a soccer mom who's ten years older than Tiffany would be rocking. It just didn't do her any favors, and I don't know whose decision that was, whether it was wardrobe or the director. She's slated to be in the upcoming Asylum effort, Mega Python vs. Gateroid, so hopefully someone will rectify this situation. It also stars Deborah Gibson, so if Tiffany looks like a 50-year-old soccer mom, and Gibson looks hot, I can't imagine Tiffany'll be very happy-- as well she shouldn't be, help her out damn it!

You a Brady Bunch fan? Greg Brady plays the Secretary of State. The show was on every afternoon when I'd get out of school growing up. There was something awesome about the whole thing, from the parents, to the kids, to Alice, to Sam the Butcher. It's probably why I'm so hard on TV programs today, and why I almost exclusively watch reality shows or anything to do with sports. I can count like five shows off the top of my head that I really liked that came out after the 70s, and really nothing since Seinfeld-- okay, I like The Office, but it's nothing like the sheer awesomeness that was The Brady Bunch.

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Google has this thing it does with our blogs where it lets us look at the stats-- what posts are the most popular, what part of the world are the readers from, what sites are they going through to find it, all the usual suspects. I discovered some interesting trends, one of which is that it's movies like this, and not the Dolph Lundren films or bad actioners, that generate the most page views. The reason why I find that interesting, is that I get most of my comments and requests for future posts on the action films. So, here's my message to anyone that loves these crazy monster films that end up on SyFy or whatever, if you want me to cover more of them, drop me a line in the comments section.

All right, this is a lot of fun, but also a lot of annoying when they just don't get on with things. It can be a labor of love, but there's also some absolutely hilarious and memorable moments that make this worth checking out. One of the easiest ways to do that is through Netflix Watch Instantly, or on DVD through Netflix, or you can even check your TV listings to see when SyFy will show it again. I imagine in a large group this could be even more fun, so that's something to consider too.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587807/

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