Sunday, July 29, 2012

Piranha (1972)

Starring drive-in stalwart William Smith, Piranha is a grungy thriller produced in South America that bears no relation to the cult-fave 1978 Joe Dante flick of the same name. (In fact, not a single killer fish appears onscreen in this movie, excepting the one featured in a stock shot running beneath the main title.) The gist of the piece is that an adventurous American nature photographer, Terry (Anha Capri), heads to Venezuela for work, accompanied by her brother, womanizing party boy Art (Tom Simcox). They hire Jim (Peter Brown) as a guide, but soon fall into the web of Caribe (Smith), a swaggering gringo who promises to help the crew find interesting photographic subjects, like a remote diamond mine. In its broadest strokes, the plot of Piranha is okay—Terry’s got baggage from childhood trauma, Jim’s romantically interested in Terry, Caribe is an operator with a secret agenda, and so on. Plus, since it turns out Caribe is actually a psycho trying to draw Terry away from civilization so he can rape her and kill her companions, it’s not as if the picture wants for dramatic content. The problem, or at least one of them, is the directionless script and the padded running time. Piranha contains perhaps 30 minutes of purposeful(ish) dramatic scenes, and the rest of the picture comprises endless montages of jungle animals, primitive locals, and other National Geographic-type material. There’s even an interminable motorcycle race. Compounded by the amateur nature of the acting—excepting Smith, who is as menacing as possible given the movie’s stupid dialogue—the narrative dead weight makes Piranha a long journey not worth taking.

Piranha: SQUARE


Unknown said...

kinda cool for a 70s film. William Smith is the usual bad-ass badguy. Its funny how people (characters) superimpose their own BS on others until "O wait, its meeeeeeee....."

Terry was an annoying bitch 5 min. till the end. Where's the piranhas when you need'em?

Most interesting character - the psycho. 2nd is a tie between Jim and Terry. Art - fluff.

Unknown said...

I watched this as an homage to the ultra great, but unheralded William Smith, who passed away (far too early if you ask me) at the age of 88 this summer (2021). I remember it as a bay and I remember wanting to watch it because of the interaction between Peter Brown and Smith. Both were heroes of the 60's era series Laredo to which I was also a fan (and remain so). I think that Brown and Smith possess a definite chemistry that I wish had been exploited more when they were in their prime. But alas, while they both had good careers, I believe this was their only non-Laredo pairing. All the negative comments about the acting, the script, the endless filler and every other bad thing that can be said is true. But for a 12 year old boy who fancied himself a future body builder and wanna be 'bad-ass', anything with William Smith is great cinema. It would have been awesome to have seen him in a starring role in even just one big time movie production. But it was never to be. I have grown old now and the years grow long in the mirror. But anytime I watch the great William Smith I am taken back to the security of my parents living room and the wonder of our Zenith color console TV. Days I will never get back but days I will always remember. So adios and vaya con Dios to Joe Riley and Chad, better Texas Rangers there never were. (Sorry Mr Norris, They did it first and did it best.)

RIP William Smith and Peter Brown

Unknown said...

I watched the movie thought it was good I don't get all of these negative comments It was good for it's time of release in 72 the acting was not bad and the footage of jungle and animals was excellent.