Friday, 21 July 2017

Film Round-Up #21

Crocodile Dundee (1986 - 2001)
Directed By: Peter Faiman, John Cornell, Simon Wincer Starring: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil, Reginald VelJohnson, Hechter Ubarry, Juan Fernández, Charles S. Dutton, Jere Burns, Jonathan Banks

Certificate: 15 Running Time: Approx 298 minutes

Fish out of water films are usually quite a reliable source of mirth and one of the most famous ones when I was growing up was Crocodile Dundee. Apparently born of star Paul Hogan's desire to establish an Australian folk hero and inspired by real life 'bushman' Rodney Ansell, Mick 'Crocodile' Dundee was a beer swilling, bar fighting, croc wrestling master bushman and survivalist and all round man's man. Apparently raised by Aborigines and now hailing from the tiny, remote Australian bush town of Walkabout Creek, he has somehow managed to catch the attention of a New York newspaper who want to do a story on him. Enter the reporter sent to get the low-down - Sue Chartlon (Kozlowski) - who just happens to be a blonde hottie ripe to be impressed by Dundee's manliness, obviously. It wasn't just her who fell for his charms though - the first film was a big hit, quickly earning its stars worldwide fame (and fortune, presumably).

The inevitable sequel was hot on its tail and that was also popular so it's strange that no more followed it. Not for some thirteen years anyway, when the creaky old codger was brought out of retirement for one last outing, and this remains the only film in the series I hadn't seen prior to this feature. Does it suffer from 'ill-advised belated sequel syndrome' or is it a fitting farewell for an appealing character? Time to rewatch the first two films for the first time in donkey's years before finding out...

Crocodile Dundee (1986)

We start things off in New York as Sue first learns of Dundee's story, that being his apparent miracle escape from a crocodile attack, and soon enough she has arrived in Walkabout Creek, smack in the middle of the Australian outback, to interview him. She is naturally impressed with him, his stories and survival skills, and soon decides she wants him to come back to New York with her to continue the feature which marks Mick's 'first trip anywhere' according to the man himself. Once there he unsurprisingly finds the people and customs as strange and confusing as they find him, but he soon makes some friends, including Sue, but definitely not her fiance who also happens to be the editor of the newspaper she works for! So yes, at its heart it's basically a romantic comedy, but remains one quite unlike any other I've seen, and this is entirely on account of Paul Hogan's talents and the highly appealing character he conjured up, not to mention the gorgeous scenery. Well in the first half of the film at least. It's all a bit cheesy and predictable but it's still really hard not to enjoy it, even today... 8/10

Crocodile Dundee 2 (1988)

A year after the happy ending of the first film, Mick and Sue are now living happily together in New York. Sue's ex-husband, however, is in Colombia trying to gather evidence to help bring down Luis Rico, the boss of a major drug cartel. Of course, he is busted and killed, but not before sending his photographic evidence to Sue, the only person he trusted. This leads the cartel to NYC in pursuit of the film where they find and abduct Sue. Naturally, this immediately turns Mick back into the fearless superhero vigilante we all knew he was anyway, and he soon rescues her. Expecting further trouble, however, he takes her down under to the outback to take on the cartel members on his terms, but they have now kidnapped Wally instead. The premise is rather silly and the first half-hour or so of the film that we spend in New York isn't great, but the rest of it back in Walkabout Creek and the surrounding 'bush' is actually rather enjoyable. Despite the danger involved, it's all just a game to Mick and seeing his repertoire of bush tricks used against the Colombian oafs is great fun... 7/10

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)

Presumably running low on cash or missing the limelight, it seems Hogan decided in 2001 that it was time to bring Mick Dundee back to our screens. He is still married to Sue with whom he now has a son called Mikey, and they're living in Walkabout Creek running a tourism business with some old friends. However, Sue gets tempted back to the US by an offer to run her own newspaper. They all subsequently move across the Pacific where father and son spend their time getting into various cross-cultural hijinks. Mick also inexplicably becomes an amateur private eye, almost immediately uncovering a major criminal operation running through a Hollywood film studio, while also rebuffing the advances of pretty much every woman in LA. It is genuinely nice to see the characters again for nostalgia's sake, but it's a film that's very clearly a cheap cash-in and nothing more. Aside from the two stars the acting is awful and the story is just nonsense really. It's more like an episode of a pretty poor Crocodile Dundee TV show, but as a feature film it's poor and a very disappointing farewell... 3/10

Banish any lingering sadness at the splendid character's final appearance with these happier memories :)


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