• Piranha 3DD (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack)

    Piranha 3DD

    Released by:
    Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: September 4, 2012.

    Director: John Gulager

    Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, Katrina Bowden, Ving Rhames, David Hasselhoff, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, David Koechner
    Year: 2012

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    The Movie:

    Directed by John Gulager and co-written by Gulager, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton – the three men who brought you Feast in 2005 – 2012’s Piranha 3DD is a sequel to Alexandre Aja’s 2010 film, Piranha, a remake of the 1978 pictures that Joe Dante directed for Roger Corman.

    When the film begins, Chet (David Koechner) is just about to open the water park that he co-owns with his stepdaughter Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) for the summer. This time around, however, Chet has decided to do something a little different – in addition to the water slides and wave pools that the kids know and love, he’s opened up an Adult Pool where strippers of various shapes and sizes will hang out in the nude complete with a ‘Cooch Cam’ that takes a good look at the ladies as they climb up out of the pool on the ladder. Maddy is more or less appalled by this but as Chet owns fifty-one percent of the company, there isn’t much she can do about it.

    Maddy becomes concerned when some of the employees disappear one night – rumors of piranha in the water where the park gets its supply from are starting to go around and while her ex-boyfriend, a crooked cop named Kyle (Chris Zylka) has assured here and everyone else that things are fine thanks to a bribe from Chet, she’s sure something is up. When she and some friends go to visit an eccentric scientist (Christopher Lloyd, reprising his role from the first film) who shows them how the piranha that caused all the mayhem some time ago can now get through metal, her fears are confirmed. Soon enough, the mutated killer fish make their way into the water park and all Hell breaks loose, much to the dismay of celebrity lifeguard David Hasselhoff and the legless, water fearing Sheriff Fallon (Ving Rhames, also reprising his role from the first movie)!

    From the opening scene starring Gary Busey and Clu Gulager as a pair of hillbillies dealing with a gassy cow to the countless scenes of breasts, butts and bush to the blood soaked chaotic finale, Piranha 3DD isn’t a movie to be taken seriously. At just under eighty-three minutes in length (closer to seventy if you don’t include the closing credits), the film doesn’t bother much with character development and is instead more content to bombard us with one ridiculous scene after another. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if a small piranha swam up a female skinny dipper and what would happen to a man who subsequently boffed said skinny dipper, this is the movie that will answer your questions.

    Though the film uses a whole lot of CGI for the underwater attack scenes, some cool old school effects are scattered throughout the movie to nice effect. Cocks are chomped off, asses are bitten, breasts are mauled and heads are severed as the film delves deep into ridiculous levels of cartoonish gore. The performances aren’t really all too memorable safe for Hasselhoff, who is actually quite funny here, more or less playing himself at rock bottom. We know from the moment he’s introduced, writing and practicing a song called Love Hunter and then celebrating the presence of ‘two chicks’ in his bedroom, that he’s having fun with the part and it’s infectious. Christopher Lloyd is also good here, though woefully underused and he only gets a couple of minutes of screen time. David Koechner plays the same sort of goofy, smug character we’ve seen him play plenty of times before but he does it well – as to the younger cast members? They’re all completely disposable, little more than cannon fodder. But this isn’t a movie we watch for amazing performances, it’s a movie we watch for gore and naked ladies and bad jokes and the Hasselhoff factor.


    Anchor Bay presents Piranha 3DD on 2D and 3D Blu-ray discs – these comments will apply to the 2D version. The AVC encoded 1.78.1 widescreen 1080p high definition transfer looks good. Some of the CGI work in the film is horrible and noticeably so, but you can’t fault the disc for that. The colors in the film occasionally run on the hot side of the spectrum but you definitely get the impression that this is on purpose and part of the intended look of the film. Detail is generally nice and sharp, though sometimes underwater it is understandably a bit murky looking. Black levels are solid and color reproduction quite good. This doesn’t rank up there with the best Blu-ray transfers you’re ever going to see but it is certainly a respectable presentation.

    The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track on the disc is pretty good, and while it doesn’t offer as much action in the rear channels as you might have anticipated, it does spread things out nicely during the film’s more chaotic moments. The score sounds pretty solid here, lots of good bass response from your subwoofer when the music kicks in, while the dialogue is always nicely balanced and easy to understand. As you’d expect from a new film like this, there are no problems at all with any hiss or distortion and there’s pretty good range here too. This is a fun mix, it adds to the lunacy of the film pretty effectively. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are provided while French and Spanish language DTS 5.1 Surround Sound mixes are also available.

    Extras kick off with a commentary track featuring director John Gulager, writer Marcus Dunstan, and producer Joel Soisson. It’s a lively discussion of the intentions behind the film and it offers up some fun stories about complications that arose on set and what it was like working with the various cast members who appear in the movie. We also learn a lot about what was shot where, who did what, and why various casting choices were made the way that they were.

    From there, check out the featurettes, of which there are three. The Story Behind The DD which is essentially your basic look at the making of the movie made up of interviews with the cast and crew and some behind the scenes footage. The second featurette is The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff and, as you could probably guess, it’s a look at Hasselhoff’s involvement in the picture, a tour of his trailer, and a look at how he handles preparing for line readings and such, all done with a sense of humor. The Wet And Wild With David Koechner is a similar look at Koechner’s work. Both are amusing enough and worth checking out if you enjoyed their respective characters in the movie.

    Rounding out the extras is a Busey's Bloopers outtake reel, a short film entitled A Lesson With John McEnroe, three deleted scenes (each of which features the heavy set stoner character, Big Dave), a trailer, animated menus and chapter stops. As this is a combo pack release, we also get a standard DVD disc containing the film and the same extras as the 2D Blu-ray disc as well as a digital copy.

    The Final Word:

    Piranha 3DD may be about as ridiculous as they come but it turns out to be a lot of stupid, raunchy fun. Note that the word stupid is emphasized there for a reason – you definitely need to be in the right frame of mind for something like this but the movie goes at a good pace, offers plenty of twisted humor, some nice T&A and a lot of nasty gore in addition to some utterly bizarre performances from an equally bizarre cast. Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray looks and sounds good and contains some fun extras as well. This might be the most brainless movie of the year, but if you go into it with the right expectations, it’s easy to have a good time with it.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. paul h.'s Avatar
      paul h. -
      I'll give this a shot just for the bizarre cast. Thanks for the swell review, Ian.