Starring: Lance Henriksen
Director: James Cameron
This poorly scripted horror film about miniature, finny "jaws" details the mating rituals of the fictional "grunion" fish (falsely introduced as "piranhas" for more box-office recognition) and their need to attack and kill humans -- either inside or outside the water. These saber-toothed wonders have been hatched from a canister of eggs on a sunken ship in front of a posh Club Med resort, which features the mating rituals of humans who at times need to attack and kill fish. The product of a series of secret genetic engineering experiments, the toothy fish are to be tracked down by an undercover biochemist (Steve Marachuk), who is soon joined by the resident scuba diver at the resort (tricia O'Neill). With believable gore but second-rate special effects, this film in no way presages the coming success of its debut director, James Cameron.
A flying-piranhas movie helmed by Cameron should by all means be better than this bland horror sequel -- proving that the picture's behind-the-scenes story is ultimately more involving than movie itself. As a film study, the picture shows nothing of Cameron's talent, which could possibly be because of his rumored noninvolvement in most of it. Shut out from most of the production, the special effects technician-turned-stand-in director obviously wasn't involved with most of the final product, as evidenced in its watery take on such an outrageous premise. Airborne deadly fish should be comedy gold -- ironic or not -- but the sly humor of the the original Piranha film, written by John Sayles, is sorely missing from the proceedings. Instead, the flick plays out in a fairly straightforward tone that kills the entire flick. Though it is interesting to see Henriksen and Cameron together at even this early of a stage in their careers, Piranha II is devoid of any other cinematic merit -- other than being the first film to open with an underwater sex scene involving scuba divers. (94 mins.)
My Rating: **