Crocodile Dundee (1986)

Crocodile Dundee (1986)

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Now THAT'S a knife!
Now THAT’S a knife!

Twitter Plot Summary: An American reporter meets up with Crocodile Dundee and, inexplicably, invites him to New York. Cue fish out of water story.

Genre: Adventure/Comedy

Director: Peter Faiman

Key Cast: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, Mark Blum.

Five Point Summary:

1. Crocodile Dundee: Animal Whisperer.
2. Stalking a woman across the outback. Smooth.
3. The Twin Towers. That’s a poignant shot nowadays.
4. The guy driving the limo is Al “I shot a kid” Powell from Die Hard.
5. That is one crowded subway.

What happens when an Australian heads off to New York? Well generally speaking he does the same as the rest of us: has a look around, takes in the sights and then goes home without experiencing anything untoward. Of course, this being the movies there has to be more to it than that otherwise it has the potential to be an incredibly boring film. In this case the Australian in question is a guy who lives in the outback and has never been to a city before, so there’s plenty of potential for fish out of water humour, all derived from Paul Hogan’s own experiences on visiting New York for the first time. Hogan plays Michael J “Crocodile” Dundee, who is the subject of an article being written by adventure-seeking journalist Sue Charlton (Kozlowski). As Sue follows Dundee around the outback, the two form a bond that looks likely to be broken once Dundee is taken out of his natural habitat, as it were, and taken to New York.

All of the usual Australian cliches are dished out in the first half of the film, but because it’s written by a native of that land it doesn’t come across as gratuitous and an attempt at a cheap laugh. Instead it’s more of an homage to that way of life and the humour is subsequently derived from that, Australian slang and all. The second half of the movie puts Dundee in New York and this is where the real humour kicks in as he has to deal with bidets, transvestites, prostitutes and more besides.

Just taking his friend out for a stroll.
Just taking his friend out for a stroll.

There’s conflict of course, in the form of Sue’s other half Richard (Blum), who despite her feelings for Dundee feels obliged to say yes when he asks her to marry him. Unlike almost literally everybody else that Dundee meets in New York, he’s the one who will smile at you but throw a snide remark or obvious putdown in your general direction. Slimey I think is the word to explain him. Dundee’s too cool a character to get genuinely annoyed by this man (or, indeed, any of the other things he encounters in the Big Apple), but seeing him deal with everything in such a cool, laid back manner, even a mugging, is great fun to watch.

I’d previously thought that Paul Hogan had made a lot of films. Nope, just the Crocodile Dundee films, a couple more that Hogan wrote and starred in, and erm… Flipper. Not exactly a stellar movie career then, but at least he’s retained most of the creative control over his career.

I will level one complaint at the film and that’s the final scene. I like the set up for it and I don’t have a problem with the resolution, but I think it could have been handled better. There’s likely only a few seconds in it, but a couple of changes in the edit would have helped as it ends more suddenly than you would usually expect. Other than that though it’s what I describe as a perfect ITV movie (for non-UK readers, ITV are the second largest of our TV stations, behind the BBC). It’s broad enough for lots of people to enjoy, it’s mostly inoffensive, and with a couple of cuts for language can be shown at any time of day. Ideal.

Favourite scene: The knife scene, of course.

Quote: “That’s not a knife. THAT’S a knife!”

Silly Moment: Crocodile Dundee walking around with a stuffed crocodile.

Score: 3/5

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