He heard there was wildlife in L.A. He didn't know how wild.
In the vast world of movie franchises there are some films that easily lend themselves to the production of sequels. Return Of The Jedi was a logical next step after The Empire Strikes Back. Back To The Future Part II had a cliffhanger ending that could only be continued in the western themed Back To The Future Part III. The proof, my friends, is in the pudding. However, not all movie series need to have a concluding third act. I think that this can aptly be stated with the release of the third installment of the "Crocodile Dundee" series, Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles. Was anyone out there clamoring for this long delayed story about the life of the Outback hero of the 1980s? Apparently Paramount Pictures thought so, and as such says "g'day" with Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles on DVD.
Facts of the Case
Over 13 years have passed since we met up with Mick "Crocodile" Dundee (Paul Hogan) and his beloved girlfriend Sue (real life mate Linda Kozlowski). These two lovebirds have been living a peaceful life in the wilds of Australia where Mick has been teaching their small son Mickey (Serge Cockburn) how to perform such male bonding activities as killing a razorback boar with a stick and fishing for crocs in swamps. But quicker than you can say "Beverly Hillbillies," Sue gets a job in journalism in Los Angeles, California, and the threesome packs up and moves to the land of fruits and nuts. Wackiness ensues as Mick learns that Hollywood is a different kind of jungle, filled with crooked studio executives and oddball characters that appear onscreen to be the butt of Aussie jokes. However, things start to turn to dangerous when Sue and Mick unfold an illegal plot that involves movie studios, stolen artwork, and slimy bosses (Jere Burns, Greedy). The only thing the criminals didn't count on was the intelligent and savvy man from down under foiling their plans!
I'm blaming the whole thing on "Survivor 2." You know, that game show that took place in the land of kangaroos. I honestly don't believe that Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles would have been made if that show hadn't been a smashing success. Anyhow, no use in crying over spilt milk now. Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles has been made and there ain't nothin' you can do about it now.
On the other hand, maybe I'm being too harsh on our friend with the croc toothed hat. Is Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles a bad movie? Well, no…not really. It's inoffensive fluff to the nth degree. Aside of a few comments about modern day technology, Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles could have easily been made in 1989, the year after Crocodile Dundee II hit theaters. So, the question that begs answering is "who was this movie made for?" I know that there were fans of the series, but were they really wanting a second sequel? It's like saying that now is the time to crank out Short Circuit 3. I guess kids might like this movie, but there really isn't a lot going on that will hold their attentions for very long. Or, maybe it's just that Paul Hogan really wanted to stop doing Subaru car commercials. Much like the Kennedy assassination, we may never know.
Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles includes some humorous bits, but overall the laughs are relatively muted. The "fish out of water" situation (which is really all this series is) was fully drained by the end of Crocodile Dundee II. Yes, it's funny when a black tribesman says that his "people" have mysterious ways of collecting information that no white man knows…and then his cell phone rings. And sure, I'll admit that it's mildly amusing to see Mick Dundee attack a mechanical anaconda on a movie tour ride because that's his nature. All these bits provide mild guffaws, but in the end add up to very little in the way of big comedy.
Paul Hogan is certainly a likeable fellow, even if his face looks like it's stretched with real crocodile leather. He's got a charming, quiet way of delivering even the most mundane of comedic dialogue. I had a good enough time watching him react to some of the screwball events happening around him in L.A. (of which, I can wholeheartedly attest, there are many). Linda Kozlowski basically squats her butt down on the back burner for the bulk of the movie, basically coming out of the shadows to look around, slyly smile, and shake her head as Mick reacts to all the commotion going on around him. "Oh, Mick, you nutty guy you" she seems to quip, as if Sue is the female equivalent to Desi Arnez. Their son only comes on screen to trade Aussie witticisms with his father (which is fine by me, as children in movies like this can easily become grating). Funny character actor Jere Burns is given zero to do as the bad guy, save for looking smug and threatening Mick with lawsuits. Even a weird assortment of cameos (including George Hamilton and Mike Tyson) don't make for all that fun a ride.
As for the story…do you really, honestly care? Something about stealing art, and a cover-up with a movie studio, and blah, blah, blah. It's all there just to hang crocodile jokes off of. As I watched Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles it was fairly evident that this movie could have easily written itself, either that or the makers could have just made it up as it went along.
In the end, Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles is not a bad film, just one that is way past its prime. In a way it's kind of like throwing a surprise party where everyone shows up, the guest gets there, you all say "surprise!" and an hour after it ends someone comes in late and yells "surprise!" Sorry buddy, but as my friend Max Smart used to say, you missed it by that much.
Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles is presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen. Being as this is a fairly new film, Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles sports a very nice looking transfer (the best of all the Crocodile Dundee films). Only the slightest edge enhancement was spotted, and all colors and black levels were even and precise. Paramount has done a commendable job on this title.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (as well as Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and is a decent, if occasionally soft, mix. The soundtrack was mixed very will with no distortion present. However, this is not a very aggressive track, utilizing all surround speakers mostly at the end of the movie (and especially during a simulated tornado sequence). Composer Basil Poledouris' twangy score is used prominently throughout the movie, but otherwise effects were kept to a bare minimum. Also included on this disc are English subtitles.
Extra features are slim on this disc, consisting of an anamorphic theatrical trailer for Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles, as well as a short featurette on the making of the film. The featurette includes interviews with the cast and crew, as well as many "nutty" scenes from the movie. While fans of the series might enjoy the interviews, the featurette is generally promotional and nothing very stirring.
You know what? I think I can honestly say that I can recommend Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles as a rental just for the coveted "nostalgia factor." It may be odd to say that a movie made in 2001 can be nostalgic, but in a way, Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles is just that: a trip down memory lane. Paramount has put a fair amount of work into this disc, though croc buffs will be fuming as a reptile in heat to see that, much like its predecessors, Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles is void of any substantial extra materials.
I'm being lenient and letting Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles go free, but I hope this is the last species of crocodile we see around these parts.
And aren't you proud of me for refraining from any obvious Foster's beer commercial jokes?
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