I have to admit that the original reason I watched Piranha 3D earlier this year was because I heard the rumblings surrounding a sequel that would be bigger and more ridiculous than the first. After hearing a few surprisingly positive reviews of the original, and learning that the “3DD” moniker had been officially announced, I went out and snatched up Piranha 3D on Blu Ray. In case you haven’t read my review, the quick and dirty is that I thoroughly enjoyed the flick, with it’s tactful blend of camp, gore, sex and interesting and believable characters. When June 1st rolled around, I was ecstatic for the sequel to arrive in theatres. Then the next week of June rolled around, and I still found nothing in the local papers or online about showtimes. What gives? The official website still says “Coming June 1st”. Apparently this wasn’t exactly a wide release, and with the abysmal ratings and revenue numbers, there’s a topless chick’s chance in a piranha pool that it will ever be. I ended up renting the movie in HD on iTunes of all places for about $7, plugging my phone into my TV and checking it out in the 50” glory most will be stuck seeing it in. I’m not mad that my seven dollars are gone, I’m just really disappointed in Dimension Films, Alexandre Aja and most importantly Jean-Luc Bilodeau.
The original Piranha 3D (2010) was all about the visual show, so let’s start there. From Scene 2 onward, we get to see a set of knockers about every 30 seconds, so check off the “DD” reference. About 100 times. We’re not really expecting anything revolutionary in terms of the piranha modeling, and these things look about the same as in the first movie, so I won’t knock it there. The problem here, why “3DD” gets a “D minus” and “3D” gets an “A”, is the tastefulness of the gore. Tastefulness may not be the right word, but I’m talking about the difference between goofy gore and unnecessary gore. “DD” is just over the top. Sure, there’s still tons of blood and missing limbs, but nothing was original. The only play at interesting gore here was the finale in which ***Spoiler alert, I guess*** Chet gets his head cut off by some flags on a rope. I guess the point here is that if you want to see naughty bits, you should just cut to the chase and turn on “Cinemax Afterdark”, don’t waste your time with a pseudo horror movie.
It’s hard for me to say the acting was bad because this movie had so much going for it in that department. First of all, David Hasselhoff plays himself as a celebrity lifeguard who, surprise, surprise, has never actually saved anyone. It’s a hilarious concept, but falls just short of entertaining in practice. David Koechner is a comedic genius, but ends up a bit awkward while trying to bring seriousness to his villain’s role. Danielle Panabaker is a major cutie and a solid actor, but the script just doesn’t allow her to bring the credibility to the lead role that Steven McQueen brought in the first movie. To round it out, Christopher Lloyd and Ving Rhames reprise roles from “3D” and have fun with them, however they have too strong of personalities to be put in such minor parts. Then there is my boy Jean-Luc Bilodeau, who I have mentioned before in my review of “Trick ‘r Treat”. I really respect the guy, and was overjoyed to see his name appear early in the opening credits of “DD”. Unfortunately, while he does a good job with the role, he ends up in one of the most awkward and disturbing scenes I have seen in a long time. Honestly bro, that was a poor choice of roles to get your name on the map.
I think the real problem with “DD” was the choices made by Dimension in pre-production. If you look at the writing credits, you notice that the main group is a crew that has worked on tons of movies, the connecting factor being that they are all sequels, and not well regarded ones. Look a little closer and you’ll see that the characters were created by the writers of the script for “3D”. It’s as if a light bulb went off in my head: you have a reasonable group of characters again, but the situations they are set in are terrible. Secondly, they grabbed John Gulager to direct “DD”, where they had Alexandre Aja do the first film. Aja has made a name for himself by bringing a fresh style and pace to his movies, which include “High Tension”(2003) and “The Hills Have Eyes”(2006). Gulager, on the other hand, has made me laugh with his filmography of not only “Feast”, but “Feast II” and “Feast III”. Don’t get me wrong; if you’ve directed a movie you’ve got more going for you than I do, I just feel that this movie could have been as good as the first.
So there you have it. I didn’t even talk about the story, because it didn’t seem necessary. In just about every department I can think of, “DD” was a let down. Dimension had something golden, and they dropped it in the sewer on the way to the theatre, didn’t bother cleaning it off, and tried to give it to the audiences. The people weren’t fooled, and neither were the distribution companies. If you want to waste $7 on something, light the bills on fire. Your friends will respect you more.