The Crocodile Hunter
Collision Course
3 out of 5 stars
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Anyone who has seen Steve Irwin on TV will wonder how his wacky persona could possibly carry a narrative movie. Fortunately, the filmmakers have devised a rather ingenious structure that uses Irwin and his wife Terri perfectly, basically keeping them outside the stupid plot altogether. After a spy satellite plunges to earth, the CIA is desperate to recover its contents, which have been swallowed by a huge, angry crocodile in Queensland. Three bickering agents (Hulme, Ransom and Beahan) are dispatched to retrieve it. Meanwhile, a local farmer (Szubanski, aka Babe's Mrs Hoggett) is at war with said croc, prompting intervention from a wildlife official (Wenham) who calls in the Irwins to sort out the mess. But of course, Steve and Terri know nothing about the satellite; they think the agents are poachers and set out to rescue the crocodile.

Yes, it's utter nonsense! But while the main plot plays like a zany spy caper, the Irwins are filmed just like their TV show: talking straight to the camera, breathlessly narrating everything as they grapple with deadly snakes, spiders and crocs, plus one cuddly baby kangaroo. It's like they never realise they're in the middle of an international crisis; they treat the spies just like another form of marauding wildlife that needs to be dealt with. The result is that the film somehow keeps us engaged as it just about overcomes some real clunkers in the script (lame jokes and weak set pieces) and cast (Szubanski overdoes it completely). And as the machinations of the plot flail around him, Steve merely engages in derring-do with both nature and the interlopers, conveying his save-the-animals message with offhanded charm and energy. You can't exactly call this a good film, but it's surprising good fun.

cert PG themes, suspense 10.Jul.02

dir John Stainton
scr Holly Goldberg Sloan
with Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin, David Wenham, Magda Szubanski, Lachy Hulme, Kenneth Ransom, Kate Beahan, Aden Young, Steve Bastoni, Steven Vidler, Alyson Standen, Robert Coleby
release US 12.Jul.02; UK 26.Jul.02
02/Australia 1h29

Grab him! Terri and Steve grapple with a big, cranky croc...

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crikey, mate! send your review to Shadows... "This movie probably does qualify as a bomb, but still, it is entertaining. I never watch movies, let alone purchase them, but my daughter bought this movie for me for Christmas. I have watched it 20 times since. The plot is thin and the jokes are silly, but that is what makes it watchable. There is nothing more fun at the end of an exhausting work day than to sit down and watch people make idiots of themselves. That's pretty much what these characters do--the crocodile behaves a little better, although not much. Dumb movie, but very entertaining." --Kaye, Rewlett 8.Feb.03
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall