CROCODILE HUNTER: COLLISION COURSE
Deep in the Queensland outback, a giant crocodile gobbles up a piece of space junk – a data-pod that’s filled with info that could change the world, kind of junk. The CIA’s tracking device bleeps its discovery, but the agency has no idea what it’s getting itself into as it sends two operatives (Lachy Hume, Kenneth Ransom) aided by a local (Kate Beahan) on a mission to retrieve the object. Steve and Terri Irwin become unwitting suspects in the case- but they are on a mission of their own: to relocate the rogue crocodile, which being stalked by a feisty local cattle rancher, Brozzie (Magda Szubanski). The two dangerous rescue missions collide – in the water, on the land and in the air.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Get a load o’ this! Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course gives new meaning to the term docu-drama, enveloping a fictional drama inside a Steve Irwin documentary. It was well advised of John Stainton to keep Irwin as himself, and doing what he does best: proclaiming with gusto the importance of preservation and his genuine affection for some of the world’s ugliest and most dangerous animals. He confesses his love for at least two killer snakes, a bird-eating spider as well as the giant croc that nearly swallows him, boat and all. But that’s what makes the film so darned endearing: Steve Irwin being Stevo. He is to crocodile rescue what Bill Collins is to the golden years of Hollywood. Without the jackets. And that’s the funny thing about the title: hunter is misleading. Stevo would marry one before he’d hunt one. Anyway, about 200 million people around the world, it is claimed, know all about Stevo and his exploits from the tv series he hosts with Terri, so no surprises for them. The misplaced satellite-carried contraption story provides a jokey action drama to surround Steve and Terri’s outback ranger adventures, and other than Magda Szubanski’s oversized hamming, the support cast delivers credible figures, if not fully drawn characters. It’s an entertaining 90 minutes in the company of a genuine Aussie whose sincerity and enthusiasm make up for any shortfall in style.
Review by Louise Keller:
It’s not a load of croc: the clever juxtaposition of Steve Irwin’s wild-life tv persona on a backdrop of espionage is a splashy tongue-in-cheek adventure with laughs galah … I mean galore. As Crocodile Dundee remains the most successful Australian film at the box office, Crocodile Hunter is the next sure-fire winner, with its down to earth Aussie humour and entertaining spoof on the genres. After all, Irwin already has an audience of more than 200 million viewers world-wide and successfully balances his wildlife commitment with his amusing presentation. Finding the right vehicle is the key, and director/writer/producer John Stainton has hit the bullseye, ingeniously keeping the two strands of the story apart. A documentary within a movie is the formula, allowing ‘Stevo’ to stay within his comfort zone, while a top Australian cast play their part in the spy spoof that orbits the crocodile action. It’s inventive, fun and at times positively off the planet with its sense of ridicule, self-deprecation and genuine gibberish. For those who are not familiar with Stevo, he’s the lion tamer of crocodiles and reptiles, who thrives on informing the world about the habits and wonts of creatures in their natural setting. He calls spider and goannas ‘sweetheart’ and complains more readily if an ant bites him on the back, than the deadly possibilities when jostling with a deadly snake. In true melodramatic showman style with an irresistible innocence, he squeezes every chuckle and chortle out of every moment, and could undoubtedly milk an audience in burlesque. Magda Szubanski’s gun-toting farmer with killer-dogs is a hoot, while Lachy Hulme’s Secret Agent has deadpan tenacity with Kenneth Ransom as his side-kick. David Wenham balances the caricatures, while Steve Bastoni and Aden Young add their respective weights. The Australian setting looks great thanks to David Burr’s camera work, without forgetting the remarkable croc itself and a host of wildlife. Seamless stunts blend into the mix and this caped crusader in shorts delivers a bottler, with plenty of novelty value and laughs to boot.
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CROCODILE HUNTER: COLLISION COURSE (PG)
CAST: Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin, Magda Szubanski, David Wenham, Lachy Hulme, Aden Young, Steve Bastoni
PRODUCER: Judy Bailey, Arnold Rifkin, John Stainton
DIRECTOR: John Stainton
SCRIPT: Holly Goldberg Sloan (story John Stainton)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Burr
EDITOR: Suresh Ayyar, Bob Blasdall
MUSIC: Mark McDuff
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Dowding
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 12, 2002