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  • Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002): ***

    Directed by John Stainton

    This movie is really two movies combined. One of them is fantastically uproarious. Unfortunately the other one is for the most part garbage. There is one movie that is basically just the Crocodile Hunter television show projected onto the big screen. The other one is a half-assed secret agent movie without a lick of conviction to it.

    The Crocodile Hunter segments are great. Steve is absolutely entertaining throughout, with his eager, childish glee and the way he seems to view EVERYTHING as the same level of danger/excitement. It's just great to watch the sheer, honest joy in his face as he exclaims "Dung!" and dives his hands into a pile of excrement, or the real fear in his voice when he handles a deadly crawly thing without any protection other than a small piece of wood. There are tons of great, real moment, such as when he's wrestling a crocodile and the croc, in order to escape, begins bashing Steven into the hull of his little motorboad, causing Steve to cry out, "She's trying to break my neck!" Becasue you know that he obviously wansn't hurt during the filming of this movie (otherwise how could he promote it?) these moments are absolutely hilarious due to their sheer amazing-ness. That ain't acting, my friend!

    Which is good, because the Spy segments have some of the worst acting this side of Ed Wood films, including one character who I swear had every single line of dialogue looped in post-production. These segments are filmed on actual film, though, and in widescreen format. Basically it's about two spies who are sent to Australia to recieve the brain of a downed satellite. The brain has some vital USA info on it. It's been eaten by a crocodile. Kate Beahan (who is quite a looker) is also on hand as a double-agent (I actually think she switches sides three times before the movie is finally over) for another agency. They have to deal with a big, angry sheep rancher played by Magda Szubanski from the Babe movies, into whose property the croc has entered. All these scenes fall pretty much on their asses, and the intended humor just isn't there at all. For the most part.

    There are a couple of golden moments, such as when the government realizes that Steve-o and Terri have the satellite brain. They have a tense meeting in which they theorize that Steve is really just some sort of a superspy and is going to sell the info or perhaps keep it for his own nefarious purposes. While this meeting is going on a big screen in the background randomly shows various photos of Steve in more and more ridiculous poses and dangerous animal predicaments. That had me holding my sides, let me tell you.

    Steve, meanwhile, is out to catch the croc and move it to another location so it won't be bothered by humans anymore. And this eventually sets up my favorite scene in this movie, and one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. Throughout the entire movie, Steve talks directly to the camera with the same earnestness and conviction in his voice throughout. When eventually the spies catch up to him and look like they're about to attack, the filming switches immediately to the Crocodile Hunter video style, and Steve turns to the camera and starts talking about what a dangerous predicament they're in now, as if this were just another segment on his show! I was rolling let, me tell you. Rolling.

    The rest of the movie is on of my favorite types of comedy, what we in the Biz call a "cross theory suspension." Basically that means that there are two sides who have each made incorrect (but logical) assumptions about the other group. Everything either group does just confirms the other group's assumptions. In this case, Steve and Terri assume, naturally, that since these people are after a valuable crocodile, they must be poachers! The spies assume, naturally, that since Steve had valuable technology in his posession and is fleeing with it, he must be some sort of enemy agent! This sets up a series of confrontations in which Steve uses his knowledge of dangerous animals to outwit the "poachers," which makes the spies belive that Steve is a secret agent of incredible skill. Fortunately director Stainton chose to film all of the confrontations as if they were a part of Steve's show, with steve turning to the camera and narrating what is going on as if he were just telling you about whatever animal he was chasing.

    I honestly could have watched these scenes for a half-hour longer than the movie let me.

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