The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002) / Adventure-Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for violence and mild language
Running time: 90 min.
Cast: Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin, Magda Szubanski, David Wenham, Lachy Hulme
Director: John Stainton
Screenplay: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Review published July 13, 2002
Having seen the television show "The Crocodile Hunter" on the cable channel Animal Planet, I usually have found it entertaining in small doses, especially when watched with friends. Hearing about the film version made me scratch my head, as I wondered why anyone would want to watch 90 minutes of something they can get on television for free, especially since the show has no plot other than to watch the host, Steve Irwin, play with dangerous animals in Australia and other exotic locations. Having seen the film, I can assure you that Collision Course is an actual full-length film with a story, plot, actors and the works, and also that it is the television show as well, with interludes where Steve talks to us as viewers and tells us how dangerous yet beautiful each reptile of spider is. It's kind of a surreal experience in a way but, and maybe it's because of the fact that the filmmakers had no idea what they were doing, a unique and refreshing one as well.
Aussie adventure-show host Steve Irwin does what he can to catch crocs and save them from poachers by depositing in areas they are unlikely to go. In the plot of this film, one such crocodile has swallowed a "black box" dropped from a top-secret American satellite, which causes the United States to send special agents to retrieve. To Steve, it's just another crocodile to save, and along with wife Terri and dog Sui, they go around the Australian countryside snaring dangerous animals, including the infamous crocodile with the beacon inside.
Chalk Crocodile Hunter up for being one of those movies that falls under the "more entertaining than good' category. This means that the film somehow manages to be fun, even if it has a weak plot, poor acting and the usual downsides associated with a film's overall quality. What makes Crocodile Hunter fun is the kooky nature of Steve Irwin himself, with his quirky dialogue and redundant mannerisms, utilizing phrases that, along with the fact that he's handling poisonous snakes by the tail or wrestling down crocodiles, make for some humorous viewing. It's a good thing these monologues come often because the film lulls whenever it deals with the quest for the retrieval of the beacon, with unappealing actors and poor direction.
Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is primarily recommended for fans of the show, or also those unfamiliar with it but who like watching shows about wildlife. People who can't stand the TV show and are annoyed by Irwin's goofy personality should definitely avoid it, as you'll hate every second. Regardless of whatever camp you belong, it's unquestionably different than most movies out there, so if you're in the mood for something truly unique, this one fits the bill, as long as you realize that it's little more than the TV show injected into a bad movie.
©2005 Vince Leo