PIRANHA 3DD – The Blu Review
PIRANHA 3DD promised more gore, beer, sun, and naked honeys making out under water. It mostly delivered but I wish they had sunk some of the substantial profits from the superb 2010 original (actually a remake of Joe Dante’s 1978 JAWS knockoff) into it, but this new one seemed so cheap and cheesy, blowing much of their budget on D-list celebrities that everything about it screamed “bargain basement”. Many of the fish and gore effects looked cheaply produced and rushed. I didn’t even get to see it at the theater in 3D because they released it in only a few cities and on VOD the same day.
PIRANHA 3DD is set a year after the events of the earlier film 50 miles away in the small Arizona town of Merkin County. The setting is Big Wet Water Park run by sleazy David Koechner who is in cahoots with the local law enforcement and has dug a “bootleg well” to provide water for his ‘adults only’ nude fantasyland where people of all ages (including children) come and swim even though many of women swim naked. The park even has a “crotch cam” to catch the women as they climb the ladder and out of the water. Since dropped bikinis can only propel so much of a plot, the killer fish come up through the well and terrorize the park, resulting in a gore-soaked climax that’s a pale shadow of the earlier film’s mayhem. Christopher Lloyd from the first film turns up once again for a few minutes as does a legless Ving Rhames. David Hasselhoff riffs a satirical version of his star status in a cameo that may have been more amusing if it didn’t go on forever but really, even The Hoff is above all this silliness. B-movie kitsch aside, PIRANHA 3DD wasn’t a very good film and received no love from critics or audiences. The computer generated piranhas were in no way frightening or even very interesting. In fact, the CGI was terrible. Even those who went to see it just for the sleaze came away disappointed because the nudity was nothing much–none of the actresses came close to achieving the sexy heights of allure set by Kelly Brook in the first one. But any movie featuring a 3D vomit sequence, a man severing his own manhood with a knife (penis as fish food is a running gag in this series), and a Gary Busey cameo that uses a cow fart sight gag as its big payoff can’t be all bad, …..can it? I mean why aim high when you can aim low?
Now PIRANHA 3DD is out on Blu-ray and, despite the bad reception it received, the 3-disc set gets high marks for trying to make up for that. Presented in 1.78:1/1080p high definition widescreen, the image mostly looks excellent. Colors are very good and considering that much of the movie is filmed during a fictitious spring break, there are colorful swimsuits galore. There are moments when the image looks fantastic, and others where it’s slightly pixilated, often in the underwater footage. The colors are bright and well-rendered, but the black levels are sometimes muddy. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix sounded great to these ears offering up a dynamic experience with surround sound. Composer Elia Cmiral’s music is mixed a bit on the loud side, but it’s not like you’re gonna miss any important dialog. There are no alternate language tracks, and only Spanish subtitles are available. Bonus features include a fairly interesting, if whiny and defensive commentary by director John Gulager (You’re a hack John – deal with it! Track down the third season of Project Green Light if you want to see Gulager in full train-wreck mode), a few standard behind-the-scenes featurettes which are brief but cover a lot of ground. The seven – minute “The Story Behind the DD” covers the making of the movie with cast and crew interviews. “The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff” is exactly what it sounds like: the actor discussing the movie and his career. There are also short featurettes with actors Gary Busey and David Koechner entitled “Busey’s Bloopers” and “Wet and Wild with David Koechner.” Also included is a 3D version of the film on Blu-ray (for those with 3D TVs), a standard definition DVD, and a digital copy for your PC or lap top computer. PIRANHA 3DD is barely a step above the dreck from Troma studios but the 3-disc Blu-ray is packed with enough goodies to make it worth your while.