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Rated R
Copyright 2010 The Asylum
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 17 Feb 2011

The Characters:  

  • Jason Fitch - Special Forces operative who knows scuba fu. The actor was definitely hired for two things: his abs and his ability to scowl.
  • Sarah Monroe - Tiffany! The Mega Piranhas are her fault, but nobody seems to care.
  • Secretary Bob Grady - It's Greg Brady!
  • Dr. Brian Higgins - His fly fishing fashion vest was no match for a Mega Piranha's appetite. Samuel L. Jackson was originally offered this role, but he turned it down. Said that he didn't want to be typecast.
  • Dr. Eli Gordon - Fish biologists usually live quiet, sedate lives. This guy is a chump who wishes that his life was more like the norm.
  • Colonel Diaz - Man, I miss the days when South America was filled with little pocket dictators who had more ammunition and drug money than brains.
  • Anybody Else - Fish chow.
  • The Mega Piranhas - They never stop growing and they never stop eating, despite the fact that they don't need to eat to grow and were meant to grow to eat.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

When I heard that Tiffany was in this film, I had to see it. Tiffany pops up on my radar once per decade. The first time this happened, she was a teen pop star who made a name for herself by performing in malls. I did my best to avoid her and continue on with my life. Then in 2002 the big news was Tiffany appearing in Playboy. This was surprising, because I had never considered her terribly attractive. My first thought was that old Hef must be losing his mind. Imagine my surprise when it turned out that Tiffany looked nothing like the waifish teenager that I remembered. She was a stacked (and judiciously airbrushed) bombshell! So, I was interested in "Mega Piranha" primarily to see what Tiffany looks like today.

She looks nothing like her Playboy centerfold now. Nor is she, as I have heard some hope, a hot soccer mom. Heck, she isn't even a mildly tepid soccer mom. She looks like someone you would expect to see in a Walmart at 2 AM, buying socks. The woman's appearance changes so much every ten years that I suspect she actually pupates in between sightings.

Did anybody see Tiffany between 2002 and 2009? No? Nobody? Want to know why? Because she was inside of a cocoon. That's freakin' why.

Please don't think that I am griping too much about Tiffany's appearance. My problem is that there are two possible reasons she would appear in this film. The first is that she is a sexy bombshell, and that's not the case. The second is that she really can act, and that's really not the case. Due to her being, long ago, a teen pop star, a third possibility is that she will sing during the ending credits.

The U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela takes a boat trip down the Orinoco. Accompanying him is a member of the host country's government and a number of well-endowed prostitutes. Suddenly, the boat is attacked by a horde of giant piranhas. The ravenous fish eat everything. They eat the ambassador, the hookers he rode in on, and even the ambassador's boat (that upon which he was riding on while riding the hookers). It's all a big mess - the sort of thing that political experts refer to as an "embarrassing diplomatic incident."

Fitch enters the picture when the Honorable Mr. Grady contacts him about the dead ambassador. Of course, nobody at the State Department thinks that piranhas are the cause. A bomb or other terrorist activity is suspected as the cause of the boat's destruction. So, the government wants Fitch to hop a plane to Venezuela to investigate the situation.

Shortly after arriving in Venezuela, Fitch runs into two major problems. The first is that Dr. Monroe accosts him at the airport to tell him that he is barking up the wrong tree. The terrorists are innocent; the ambassador's death was caused by killer fish. Despite how insane she sounds, Fitch listens to her story and says that he will take it into consideration. The special operations operative's second major problem is much more serious than listening to a stressed out fish engineer predict the end of civilization. Colonel Diaz does not take kindly to meddlesome gringos in his country. Señor Fitch is effectively confined to a room on base.

Isn't that the way it always goes? A whole river full of hungry fish, and you get stuck at work.

The United States is not paying Fitch to have a non-fishing vacation. He needs to personally see the wrecked boat by diving in the river. So, Fitch sneaks out of the base in broad daylight. Don't ask me how he does this. Don't even ask how fits all of his diving gear in that little bag that he is carrying. I don't know. The people who made this movie don't know. Your father, who has an answer for everything, doesn't know either.

Diving in a river filled with giant piranhas is not safe, but neither is Fitch. When the piranhas attack him, the tough operative fights them off with a knife. He then takes one of the mutated creatures back to the base and throws it onto Colonel Diaz's desk. The Venezuelan military responds to the threat by strafing, bombing, and shooting missiles into the river to kill the piranhas. It doesn't work. All it does is cause the fish to spread unchecked, growing larger all the while. The next casualty of the fish feeding fracas is one of Diaz's metal-hulled patrol boats. Now the Colonel is really upset.

The American scientists responsible for creating the (almost) Mega Piranhas get rounded up by the Venezuelan military. Granted, Fitch saves the day by rescuing them, but I actually agree with Colonel Diaz that the scientists are to blame. I don't care that we are supposed to believe that Dr. Monroe made an honest mistake. Creating genetically-altered superfish to feed the world's starving masses is a good idea. Using a piranha as the starting point is criminally stupid. Granted, any fish that grows as large as a Mega Piranha is going to be dangerous, but would you rather encounter a 1000 pound tuna, or a 1000 pound piranha?

If it's all the same to you, I'll take the fig bucking tuna.

Before long, the school of rapidly growing piranhas reaches a major harbor along the river. The carnage is horrific. Not because, as you might suspect, the fish eat everything and everybody in the water. The Mega Piranhas have a startling tendency to leap out of the water at buildings. Upon crashing into a building, a fish then explodes. Exactly why the piranhas jump into the buildings is never explained. Maybe they are attacking their own reflection, which is odd behavior for animals that travel in schools, or perhaps they are just trying to steal Wi-Fi.

By this point the Mega Piranhas are the size of a large bus, and still growing larger at an exponential rate.

While the harbor is being destroyed, Fitch and his little flock of fugitive scientists (diminished by one after Dr. Higgins becomes the late Dr. Higgins) continue to elude the Venezuelan army. A rental Hyundai moving faster than a helicopter is not the worst of it, either. The most outrageous thing is watching Tiffany outrunning Colonel Diaz and his soldiers on foot. These guys are not a bunch of gray-haired national guardsmen with beer bellies. They look like they should be able to easily catch Tiffany. I know that she is famous for her song about running away from people, but she doesn't look like she is running fast enough to get away from a jelly donut, let alone the elite Venezuelan SUV Corps.

Meanwhile, Fitch has enough time to schedule a naval gunfire mission to destroy the Mega Piranhas before they reach the ocean. As an added bonus, hundreds of giant fish being blown to smithereens by 16-inch guns should cause enough chaos for the Americans to escape from Colonel Diaz. Half of the plan works, though watching three different ships supposedly shelling the piranhas is awfully confusing to the viewer. Especially so when the piranhas jump over the rainforest to get to the ocean, just so that they can eat the US Naval vessel that is shelling them. Smart fish.

Oh yeah, the three different ships are all supposed to be the same darn boat.

After the covert clandestine naval gunfire special operations battleship is destroyed, things rapidly go downhill. The fish do become full-fledged Mega Piranhas, and prove able to withstand attack by a nuclear submarine that fires a nuclear torpedo at them. Miami (I think it is Miami, there are a lot of girls going wild) soon experiences the joy of building-flattening flopping fish. The only hope of saving the world, besides setting off a potential doomsday device-sized nuclear weapon, is for Fitch and his special operations buddies to engage the piranhas with experimental underwater cannons.

The high-tech weapons are actually Nerf Longshots, painted black. Yes, really.

The tough guys manage to hurt one of the Mega Piranhas, only losing ten or twenty of their own in the process. The other fish stop jumping out of the water long enough to eat the wounded member of their school. Apparently that is some sort of victory; the next scene shows everybody smiling and hugging as Fitch victoriously strides down the walkway with the sun at his back. Mr. Grady shakes his hand, and then Dr. Monroe and Fitch inexplicably kiss.

Why are those two kissing? There was not any sort of romantic interest before, but now it suddenly looks like Fitch is going to be enjoying breakfast at Tiffany's tomorrow morning. Not that this should surprise me in the least; 95% of this film made me scratch my head and say, "HUH?" I'm even confused how anybody thought that this script would make the slightest bit of sense to an adult. "SpongeBob SquarePants" episodes are more coherent.

I had a lot of fun the first time I watched this movie, but should warn you that "Mega Piranha" does not hold up well to repeat viewings. By the fourth time I had seen it, the blush was off of the rose. Even the fact that everything that anybody says is heavily emphasized started wearing thin. So, be advised that my slime drop rating for this one is based on my first encounter. Subsequent showings are likely to result in less dopamine being released, though your mileage may vary. Drew Barrymore could probably watch this movie every day for the rest of her life and never get tired of it.

If you can still enjoy this movie by the twelfth viewing, good for you.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Piranhas are an unsafe way to remove unwanted hair from the bikini area.
  • Hookers can be used as flotation devices.
  • The Venezuelan Air Force is equipped with the latest model Cessna Air Superiority Fighter.
  • There is a reef at the bottom of the Orinoco River.
  • Piranhas are filled with nitroglycerin.
  • Piranhas are a species of porpoise.
  • A Hyundai can outrun a Blackhawk helicopter.
  • The NSA owns the ultimate Bass Tracker.
  • Never swallow a flare.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Hey, you! If this was a Roger Corman film your life expectancy would be almost two minutes longer.
  • 10 mins - Surely, there is another Special Forces operator who kicks just as much a** as Fitch, but who can also speak Spanish. Sin duda?
  • 31 mins - "Our most unsuccessful projects eat 30% of the people in your country."
  • 43 mins - When did Fluke start selling fish meters?
  • 45 mins - Everywhere? Wouldn't I be safe in Twentynine Stumps?
  • 73 mins - No, that is a Nerf gun painted black.
  • Ending Credits - Tiffany is singing the ending theme. Who'da thunk?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note megapiranha1.wav Fitch: "This sounds like a problem for the fish and game industry."
Dr. Monroe: "You don't get it! They ate those people! They ate the whole damn boat! And if we don't do something in the next twenty-four hours they are going to grow and grow and grow, and take everything out in their path."
Green Music Note megapiranha2.wav Fitch: "Secretary Grady, I figured it out. It wasn't an explosion. It wasn't terrorists. It was giant piranha. Yes sir, giant piranha."
Green Music Note megapiranha3.wav COC Clerk: "The USS St. Harper is destroyed. The piranhas are in the ocean and on the move."
Secretary Grady: "God help us all."
Green Music Note megapiranha4.wav Secretary Grady: "That's it; get your men out of there. I'm ordering the nuclear strike."
Fitch: "No sir, (you) can't nuke the Florida panhandle. There's has to be another way."
Secretary Grady: "We tried it your way. I am giving the order: you come in now."
Fitch: "You know I can't do that sir. There's got to be another way."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmegapiranha1.mpg - 6.2m
Fitch kicking fish a**.

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