Film Review: Crocodile Dundee II (1988)

(source: tmdb.org)

In 1986 adventure comedy Crocodile Dundee not only broke box office records of Australian cinema, but also managed to become massive hit on North American market. Such success, like with so many 1980s hits, led to inevitable sequel, released in 1988 under title Crocodile Dundee II.

Paul Hogan, who also co-wrote screenplay with his son Brett, returns in the title role of Mick “Crocodile” Dundee, Australian adventurer and crocodile hunter. Plot begins with him living in New York City with his girlfriend Sue Carlton (played by Linda Kozlowski), news magazine reporter, and still trying to adjust to the big city and way of life so different from Australian Outback. In the meantime, Sue’s former husband, photojournalist Bob Tanner (played by Dennis Boutsikaris) is in Colombia where he makes incriminating photos of powerful drug lord Luis Rico (played by Hechter Ubarry). Tanner gets killed by Rico’s men, but not before he has managed to send negatives to his ex wife. That makes Sue a target of abduction. Mick manages to set his girlfriend free in a daring raid, but soon learns that Rico won’t stop until both of them are dead. He decides to bring Sue to his old home in Australian Outback, knowing that he has better chances of defeating drug lord and his small army on the familiar terrain.

Just as it the sequel was inevitable, it was inevitable that the sequel will be worse than original film. Hogan and his director John Cornell, on the other hand, knew that they had to try something different. Unlike the first time, which was mostly series of “fish out of water” vignettes with very weak plot, Crocodile Dundee II had somewhat tighter narrative structure. Unfortunately, Hogans chose Colombian drug dealers – very popular brand of villains in late 1980s Hollywood – to serve that purpose, resulting in series of cliches and character of Rico being reduced to one-dimensional caricature, played very badly by Hechter Ubarry. Linda Kozlowski, Hogan’s real life girlfriend and future wife, doesn’t fare much better; her character doesn’t do anything and is reduced to damsel in distress stereotypes. Film also has some problems with pacing, especially in the first parts, when some of the jokes and gags are weak or look like they were recycled from the original film. Things improve only in second part, when the plot switches back in Australia. Not only Cornell has opportunity to use exotic locations of Australian Northern Territory, but also to show protagonist as genuine action hero. Although the outcome of Dundee’s conflict with drug dealers is quite predictable in this crowd-pleasing family-friendly film, Cornell shows those scenes in effective way. Hogan is also good as laid-back protagonist who prefers using brains rather brawns in defeating numerically superior opponents. Second part of the film also features character actor John Meillon in the role of Walter Reilly, Dundee’s friend from Outback; that performance, last in his career, lifts Crocodile Dundee II over being merely watchable. Although predictably worse than the original and slightly overlong, this film can still be recommended as light entertainment even for audience who isn’t too nostalgic for 1980s cinema icons.

RATING: 5/10 (++)

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