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The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
2002 - PG - 89 Mins.
Director: John Stainton
Producer: Judi Bailey, Bruce Willis, Arnold Rifkin, John Stainton
Written By: Holly Goldberg Sloan, John Stainton
Starring: Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin, Bindi Sue Irwin, David Wenham
Review by: Joe Rickey

Human vs. Spider: The Great Battle for Supremacy
Media sensation Steve Irwin and his Crocodile Hunter persona make their way to the big screen in this family comedy. It seems that an Australian crocodile has swallowed a top-secret device and now CIA intelligence agents have come to the Outback to retrieve the device in any means possible. But Irwin has to make sure that the agents don’t injure any animals or the environment in the process. Many animal related hijinks ensue as the agents have to fend off the dangerous Australian critters.

Yet another television show makes the jump to the big screen with this film. Lately, it sure seems that every show with any semblance of popularity has been turned into big screen fodder for the masses. It was only a matter of time before the wily antics of Steve Irwin were turned into a film. MGM probably saw that he has some popularity with people and they also probably saw that he is similar to Paul Hogan and his Crocodile Dundee persona that became a huge hit in the 80’s. There’s no doubt that Steve Irwin is a very likable personality that people can identify with in some way. Now his brand of humor has been expanded into a feature length comedy. The film is fun at times but there isn’t enough substance to sustain its entire running time.

Direction by John Stainton in his first film is fine for what the film is: a light and farcical comedy. He sets up the various animal vs. CIA agent gags quite well and therefore the film is very enjoyable during these times. He also is smart to focus mostly on Steve Irwin, as he is really the only thoroughly developed character in the film. Irwin is a deft performer at getting the audience to laugh at his close calls with the animals occupying the vast wilderness of Australia. Irwin reaches comedic heights when he starts terrorizing the agents with snakes, spiders and other animals at his disposal. The film also is smart to not do what most family films do: introduce an annoying child character to relate to the potential kid audience. Heck, Irwin acts like a big kid most of the time anyway.

The fact that the film is based on what is a half hour long television show doesn’t help the film in terms of pacing, as it must be artificially lengthened into feature length with some scenes dragging out far too long and becoming laborious to sit through. And because the film is somewhat aimed at kids, there is a fair amount of juvenile humor that involves animal excrement and other bodily fluids that you may or may not find funny based on your preference for such things.

Overall, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is filled with some funny comedic bits that benefits greatly from the infectious personality of its lead but also suffers from some needless subplots and juvenile humor. For those who, like me, find themselves strangely enjoying something that by all accounts should have been god awful, there’s a sequel on the way in the near future.

Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

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