Judge Patrick Naugle once threw shrimp on a girl named Barbie. The police were called.
"That's not a knife. THAT's a knife!"
In backwoods Australia lives a legend known as "Crocodile" Dundee (Paul Hogan, Lightning Jack). New York reporter Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski, Pass the Ammo) has heard the rumors, and is sent by her newspaper editor to find the famed outbacker. After some time in the bush, Sue brings Mick back to NYC where the famed adventurer is in for some serious culture shock…and quite possibly a little romance!
Mick enjoys his time in America so much he's still in the big city two years later when Crocodile Dundee II opens. Unfortunately, life isn't getting any easier for Mick and Sue. When a roll of camera film leads our heroine into the hands of a dastardly crime syndicate, only Mick Dundee and his Australian wits can save her!
There are few movies so associated with their decade of creation as this fish-out-of-water tale of a rugged outback cowboy traversing the mean streets of New York City. The character of Michael "Crocodile" Dundee was the brainchild of Australian actor/comedian Paul Hogan, based on the real life exploits of the late outback adventurer Rodney Ansell. Financed through Hogan and his collaborators, there weren't enormous expectations for the film. Yet to everyone's surprise—especially Hogan's—it became a box office sensation, pulling in just under $175 Million worldwide. Dundee mania swept America, and suddenly Paul Hogan and his rough-and-tumble invention were thrust into the limelight of '80s pop culture. Of course, with the success of the first film, a sequel was inevitable, and in 1988 fans would get a second helping. Although not as big of a hit as the original, Crocodile Dundee II did more than respectable business. A third film, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, would hit theaters 13 years later and was ignored by critics, audiences, and Paramount who neglected to include it on this release.
Crocodile Dundee is a cute movie; nothing more, nothing less. Thirty years after its release, the film comes off as a standard, run-of-the-mill comedy with an interesting hook and obvious execution. You won't find yourself laughing very hard. Smiling and grinning maybe, because there aren't any big laughs to be had here. Even the iconic moments most people remember—like the mugging scene where Dundee tells a would-be robber, "That's not a knife. THAT's a knife!"—are mildly amusing at best. It's not that Crocodile Dundee is a bad movie. It's just that the luster has dulled over the years.
The fact that Crocodile Dundee hasn't aged well is certainly no fault of star Paul Hogan. If the film has any single success it's that the lead performance by Hogan is strong and likable. Mick Dundee has a laid back charm, whether he's wrasslin' crocodiles or inadvertently hitting on Times Square hookers. Mick's love interest, Sue Charlton (played by real life wife Linda Kozlowski), is written as a damsel in distress. The character exists primarily to be a) saved from roving wildlife by Dundee; and b) saved yet again from her creepy upper crust boyfriend (played with a fine amount of smarm by Desperately Seeking Susan's Mark Blum).
Crocodile Dundee is a one-joke movie that gets by on the charms of its lead. There are only so many times you can watch a guy figure out how America works while wearing a snakeskin jacket before the novelty wears off. If your memories of Crocodile Dundee are warm and fuzzy, revisiting this film may end up being a bit of a disappointment.
Whatever charms can be found here are all but diluted by the lackluster follow-up, Crocodile Dundee II. Mick isn't a character that lends himself well to a number of different stories. I mean, how many movies can they relocate the guy to a different city? He isn't an adventurer in the vein of Indiana Jones, so what can you do with him? Set him inside a conspiracy crime caper, of course!
If the Crocodile Dundee felt a little contrived, Crocodile Dundee II feels a LOT contrived, to the point of distraction. It's a rather ridiculous plot (written by Hogan and son Brett) that takes the title hero and drops him into an international drug ring that's about as clichéd as they come. Mick finds himself with some undeveloped film that his girlfriend's ex-husband owned, which has proof of a murder within the negatives. Linda Kozlowski returns as Mick's girlfriend and promptly gets herself kidnapped by said crime boss. Guess who's job it is to save the day?
While I'm sure Crocodile Dundee II was a fun family affair, the joys of the production don't quite extend to the film itself. There's a lot of corny humor here, including a potential suicide sequence with some light homophobic undertones, and the whole experience feels half-baked. Once again, Paul Hogan makes for a pleasing lead (it's pretty hard to dislike him), but even he can't keep this film afloat. The razor thin plot does not support a two hour adventure, so there are a lot of dead spots.
Both films are presented in 2.35:1/1080p HD widescreen in 1080p high definition, and their transfers are decent, but by no means great. Oddly, the first film is the stronger of the two with bold colors and dark black levels. It's not a perfect transfer (some grain can be seen), but it's certainly an upgrade from standard def DVD. The visual fidelity of Crocodile Dundee II is less impressive, with a softer picture and overall lack of fine detail. The image may be a step up from previous releases, but not by a wide margin.
Crocodile Dundee gets a DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio track, while Crocodile Dundee II receives a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Surround mix. Not surprisingly, the 5.1 mix fares best with some well placed surrounds, crisp dialogue, and music and action cues. While the 2.0 mix is decent, it's rather flat and uninspired for high definition. Both films offer up alternate language tracks and subtitles in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Bonus features include a very short behind-the-scenes featurette for Crocodile Dundee II and theatrical trailers for both films.
It's always a bit sad to revisit movies of your youth only to find out they don't hold up very well. Such is the case with Crocodile Dundee and Crocodile Dundee II. With a combined runtime of four hours, by the halfway mark you'll feel you got your fill of Mick Dundee.
This Paramount double feature is only for fans of these movies. Everyone else, caveat emptor!
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