The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

Once again, the greatest cinematic export from Australia has 'crocodile' in the title, but this time round Paul Hogan is nowhere to be seen. In his place is Australian adventurer Steve Erwin, who's become a household name after his crazy antics in documentaries and his TV shows. The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is his first foray into the world of cinema and also stars his wife and fellow wildlife rescuer/conversationalist Terri. For the purpose of this review, the word 'Crikey!'' will randomly appear throughout - normal transmission will resume after this review.

The feeble attempt at a plot involves a satellite, which self-destructs and jettisons its hard drive containing surveillance photos of an incriminating nature to earth. To protect the hard drive it was enclosed in a metal cone about 6-7" across. This cone is then accidentally swallowed by a 12-foot crocodile. If these images get into the wrong hands then the face of global power across the world would change. Crikey!

The USA sends two agents to the land down under to find and bring back the cone. They meet up with an attractive (of course!) Australian agent, who is to be their guide in Australia, but has an ulterior motive; she is also after the device Crikey! Steve mistakes the agents for poachers (who else would be after a crocodile?) and manages to catch it before they can retrieve the cone. He and Terri head off with the intension of releasing it in an area free from poachers. Crikey!

Thus the stage is set, Steve and Terri, with their captive croc in hand, totally blissful of the contents of its stomach; federal agents in hot pursuit. The agents, having researched the Erwins and conclude that they have been present in every country where there's been a major political unrest, conclude that they must be 'agents' for someone else and as a result are even more determined to catch them too. Crikey!

The ending - who knows and who cares? Crikey!

That, ladies and gentlemen, is it as far as a plot is concerned. The charm of the film is obviously Steve, who apparently wasn't given a copy of the script and therefore plays his TV persona as per normal Crikey!. He stops to catch dangerous spiders, deadly snakes and basically does his normal show. Its impossible not to like him, he's got charisma and is either one of the bravest or dumbest guys on earth. Also his love for animal is very evident from his show and the film. Unfortunately, Terri, who cannot act to save herself from a rabid dingo on the TV show, does no better here. She over dramatises everything and can be extremely annoying - fortunately she doesn't try to breast feed any baby kangaroos as she almost did once on one of the TV shows (or did she and they didn't show it? Crikey!).

The rest of the cast are dire apart from Magda Szubanski, who's more famous for playing the farmer's wife in Babe: Pig in the City. She plays an extremely grumpy rancher who battles the crocodile that swallowed the metal cone. She's so grumpy and ferocious that you almost expect Steve to wrestle her to the ground and throw her into the back of his truck - before releasing her in a safer environment. Crikey! Kate Beahan, as the Australian agent is purely in the film for eye-candy. The script is so bad they never really had a chance from the start and its more painful to watch them try to act through it.

Having said that it is a really fun movie on some levels - don't expect anything else. Its not comedy or drama or even action, just fun, held together with the lamest of plots. They could have not bothered with that and just had Steve running around catching things. His goofy persona and the fact that he addresses every living thing that he meets, including the bad guys, with awe and wonderment carries the film totally. Steve spends the whole film talking as if he is on his show anyways. Even to the stage he's narrating as if to a camera during a fight on top of his truck with one of the agent. Steve - who the hell are you talking to? Crikey!

Director (if we can use that term) John Stainton has obviously told Steve and Terri to just do their show. For example, whenever they are onscreen, the film ratio goes to TV show i.e. 4:3 'full-screen'. Whenever anything else is shown, the film goes back to wide-screen. Because the two stories, Steve and co and the satellite thing, don't interject till the way through, the ratio of the film just jumps from full-screen to wide-screen as and when required. Crikey! By the end, when for some unknown reason helicopter gun ships surround Steve as the outtakes and the Baha Men blare out their rendition of Elton John's 'Crocodile Rock', no one really cares any way.

To conclude, it's a very bad film bar the bits with Steve. He talks all the time as if he's on his show and when the camera pans back its just him and the wilderness, so it's therefore logical to assume that he's actually insane and talks to himself all the time. Crikey! Kids will enjoy it more than adults who are better off just buying the Crocodile Hunter DVD, which has got some very interesting facts about Steve and his childhood (which also explains a lot of the insanity. Crikey!)

Crikey!

SCORE 4/10

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