Crocodile Hunter Plot Fills Time Between Irwin Antics
- Wednesday, June 19, 2002
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course - PG
Best for: Kids old enough to enjoy Steve Irwin's TV show and teens and adults who can't get enough of him.
The plot: A top-secret government satellite explodes, sending pieces falling to Earth. An important surveillance device plummets to Australia and is swallowed by a crocodile. The device has the kind of top secret information that could change the world should the wrong people get their hands on it, so the CIA sends agents Wheeler (Lachy Hulme) and Archer (Kenneth Ransom) to retrieve it from the land down under. The National Reconnaissance Office sends its local secret agent (Kate Beahan) to make sure it gets the device as well. Meanwhile, the Croc Hunter (Steve Irwin) gets a message that a pesky croc is eating cattle and runs the risk of getting shot by an angry farmer (Magda Szubanski) who hates trespassers even more than she does crocs. The Irwins assume that the government agents are really poachers, and the chase begins to keep the croc from danger.
The good: Crikey! Steve Irwin -- a.k.a. The Crocodile Hunter -- is enough of a show to be a movie on his own. His hilarious accent, humorous antics, animated expressions and stunts (death-rolls, close calls, face-to-face danger, etc.) are interesting enough. Anyone who enjoys watching his television show will enjoy watching him in a movie, so the plot really isn't needed. With his wife, Terri, by his side and her ever-present commentary accompanying the scenes ("That was a close one, Steve!"), the two give a slice-of-life view of their lives.
I happen to be a fan of the crocodile hunter's outlandish and gregarious style. He is a refreshing original, and in this movie, he plays himself as he is on TV. I also enjoyed the fact that his wife is a part of his team. The relationship these two have sends a positive message about marriage and couples enjoying each other's work and passions. The plot, acting and comedic timing don't make this the best family film around, but it certainly is the most entertaining and fun to watch.
The bad: This action/adventure/comedy ends up being two Aussie adventures with two different plots that sort of merge in the end. While the Irwins basically play themselves (and prove that watching someone almost get bit, wounded or eaten is always entertaining and interesting), the other plot is ridiculous, with the characters performing goofy stunts and acting so silly the audience doesn't buy any of it for a minute. The agents are so unintelligent and idiotic they look out of place. The large female rancher is a funny addition, but again, her cartoonish behavior and campy character never come in contact with the Irwins. It's as if she belongs in a different movie. The last scene sort of wraps it all up, but since Steve never knows what's going on, I think it should have been left out or maybe better written.
Offensive language and behavior: Most of the language is native to Australia and could probably be considered crude in some cases (if I knew what it meant). There are a few curse words and lots of name calling ("You idiot," "You wanker", etc.) but most of it by characters other than Steve. The farmer has a bad attitude with anyone she meets and sicks her dogs on everyone. The agents try to play mean but really aren't. All of it is played for comedy, so we never really worry about Steve or Terri.
Sexual situations: No way mate! Not in this movie!
Violence: Much of the violence ends up being chase scenes, with characters trying to get the Irwins and Steve outwitting them. There are also a lot of close calls involving Steve and the gators and critters he's chasing or helping. Of course, he almost gets bit or eaten by many of them, but it's the same stuff you would see on his TV show. In one of my favorite scenes, Steve jumps into water at night in an attempt to capture a large croc, and he and the croc spin around in the dark water, both above and below the surface. He also holds one of the most venomous snakes in the world, wrestles several mean crocs and handles a poisonous bird-eating spider. In one scene, the farmer finds herself holding on to a rope and then falling into the water where the mean croc is waiting.
Parental guidance: This is a fun family treat that will please those who enjoy Steve's television show and introduce those who have never seen it to one of the most colorful characters on TV. The only negative would be if you have a young "Irwin wanna-be" in your home; those kids might want to imitate Steve and handle the dangerous critters or animals living in your neighborhood. So a good "don't try this at home" pep talk might be wise after seeing this movie.
It's a wrap: I happen to be a fan of the Irwin's television show and think that Steve's hilarious antics were enough to make this movie interesting without the ridiculous plot and silly characters that are thrown in to fill time. If you love the Crocodile Hunter, you'll enjoy his movie.
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