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"Crocodile" Dundee & "Crocodile" Dundee II: Double Feature Blu-ray Review

Crocodile Dundee (1986) movie poster "Crocodile" Dundee

Theatrical Release: September 26, 1986 / Running Time: 98 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Peter Faiman / Writers: Paul Hogan (original story & screenplay), Ken Shadie, John Cornell (screenplay)

Cast: Paul Hogan (Michael J. "Mick" "Crocodile" Dundee), Linda Kozlowski (Sue Charlton), Mark Blum (Richard Mason), David Gulpilil (Neville Bell), Michael Lombard (Sam Charlton), John Meillon (Walter Reilly), Ritchie Singer (Con), Maggie Blinco (Ida), Steve Rackman (Donk), Gerry Skilton (Nugget), Irving Metzman (Doorman), Reginald VelJohnson (Gus), Rik Colitti (Danny), John Snyder (Pimp)
Crocodile Dundee II (1988) movie poster "Crocodile" Dundee II

Theatrical Release: May 25, 1988 / Running Time: 112 Minutes / Rating: PG

Director: John Cornell / Writers: Paul Hogan, Brett Hogan

Cast: Paul Hogan (Michael J. "Mick" "Crocodile" Dundee), Linda Kozlowski (Sue Charlton), John Meillon (Walter Reilly), Hechter Ubarry (Luis Rico), Juan Fernandez (Miguel), Charles S. Dutton (Leroy Brown), Kenneth Welsh (Inspector Brannigan), Dennis Boutsikaris (Bob Tanner), Ernie Dingo (Charlie), Gus Mercurio (Frank), Steve Rackman (Donk), Gerry Skilton (Nugget), Stephen Root (DEA Agent - Toilet), Carlos Carrasco (Garcia), Luis Guzman (Jose), Anthony Crivello (Subway Hitman), Susie Essman (Tour Guide), Tatyana Ali (Park Girl), Jace Alexander (Rat), Colin Quinn (Onlooker at Mansion), Vincent Jerosa (Ledge Suicider)

Buy "Crocodile" Dundee & "Crocodile" Dundee II from Amazon.com:
Double Feature Blu-ray • Double Feature DVD / Instant Video: I • II

"Crocodile" Dundee is perhaps the best example of a popular movie that time quickly forgets. A close second among all 1986 releases at the box office behind Top Gun, this sequel-spawning comedy nowadays is rarely discussed. It's not a movie you see on television all the time or one given a new DVD edition every few years.
The people who made it haven't been busy or in demand for a long time. It's tough to believe this Australian film sold more tickets than Aliens and Ferris Bueller's Day Off combined or that it did so opening in late September, a time that's traditionally slow for moviegoing and reserved for intelligent dramas.

Conceived and co-written by Aussie sketch comic Paul Hogan, Dundee stars Hogan in the title role, an Aborigine-raised safari guide of Walkabout Creek, Northern Territory, who is the last stop on a world tour of New York Newsday reporter Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski). A local legend for surviving a crocodile attack, wild outdoorsman Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee doesn't often know what day or even what year it is. But he knows his way around the Australian Outback and can break the neck of a poisonous snake without breaking conversation. "Mick" shows Sue around his home on a three-day expedition. Then he agrees to return to New York with her for his first taste of city life and first exposure to anywhere but Australia.

In "'Crocodile' Dundee", Australian outdoorsman Michael Dundee (Paul Hogan) journeys to New York City for the first time and poses for pictures on the Empire State Building's Observation Deck.

This sets up a second half of traditional fish out of water comedy, with the bronzed, fearless Mick getting introduced to escalators, hot dogs, bidets, Italian restaurants, transvestites, pimps, prostitutes, and cocaine. Sue, who is easy on the eyes, accepts the proposal of her boyfriend/boss, the insensitive Richard Mason (Mark Blum), which seems to put a damper on the understated romantic possibilities between our hero and the "Sheila" telling his story.

You won't find any huge laughs in the film today, as you wonder how this could have caught on to the extent that it did. Hogan was not widely known outside of Australia, where he appeared in his own self-titled television series, a miniseries, and a number of London-set commercials for Foster's. His film career does not extend much further than this international blockbuster and its two sequels. His handful of other acting credits include the 1994 western comedy Lightning Jack co-starring Cuba Gooding Jr., which he wrote, and the 1996 film Flipper with Elijah Wood, which he did not.

Crocodile Dundee (Paul Hogan) calms a bull with a hand gesture. In the closing scene of the original film, Sue (Linda Kozlowski) chases Mick to a crowded subway platform, where she professes her love for him.

Beyond that work, Hogan,
who will turn 75 in October, may be best known for marrying his Dundee leading lady Kozlowski and for Australia's long investigation into his alleged income tax evasion. Kozlowski, whose career outside the franchise has been even less existent (she was in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned and that's about it), filed for divorce last October after 23 years of marriage and evidently some plastic surgeries.

If "Crocodile" Dundee had arrived during the DVD age, such a successful film surely would have been treated to many bells and whistles like outtakes, deleted scenes, and making-of content. Instead, after movies much less popular in theatrical release eclipsed it in stature, it came to DVD in 2001 (day and date with its sequels) with little fanfare and just a trailer for company. This week, it reached Blu-ray exclusively in a two-disc Double Feature set with the first of its two sequels.


Released on the Wednesday before Memorial Day Weekend 1988, "Crocodile" Dundee II was pretty much guaranteed to turn a healthy profit. And it did, becoming the year's first film to top the $100 million mark domestically. It didn't get much further than that, though, and eventually five releases overtook it: Twins, Big, Coming to America, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and '88's Best Picture winner and box office champ, Rain Man.

Dundee II opens with its hero using dynamite to fish off the coast of Ellis Island. Mick has been living happily in New York with his girlfriend Sue and is starting to look for a job. However, circumstances soon turn this into an action comedy.

Sue is contacted by her ex-husband Bob Tanner (Dennis Boutsikaris), a photojournalist in Colombia who captures an execution-style murder at a cocaine plant there. The drug lords notice Tanner, track him down, and kill him, but not before he has sent the incriminating pictures to Sue (for reasons that don't make sense). Before you know it, kingpin Luis Rico (Hechter Ubarry) and his second-in-command Miguel (Juan Fernαndez) are holding Sue hostage in a Long Island mansion. She doesn't have the pictures, because Mick got mail that day.

Not so bad Leroy Brown (Charles S. Dutton) and "Crocodile" Dundee (Paul Hogan) set their sights on the Long Island mansion from which they intend to rescue hostage Sue in "'Crocodile' Dundee II."

Rather than comply with the drug lords or cooperate with the DEA agents on their trail, Mick teams up with Leroy Brown (Charles S. Dutton), a stationery vendor who's only trying to be as bad as his name implies. The two of them join forces with a gang of young punks whose recurring presence is repeatedly accompanied by Iggy Pop's "Real Wild Child (Wild One)."

The plot fully resolved by the halfway point, Mick and Sue return to Walkabout Creek to hide out. The Colombians follow, forming a search party of seven with Mick's bushman mate Walter (John Meillon) coerced into serving as guide.

Like its predecessor, this sequel feels like two movies in one and once again, the better one is set in New York. The first hour plays like a PG-rated Lethal Weapon, with the series shifting to action from straight comedy. There's still some of the latter, as when Mick talks down a suicidal man or is mistaken for Clint Eastwood by Japanese tourists who assist him in a subway fight.

Crocodile Dundee (Paul Hogan) makes a DEA agent (Stephen Root in his film debut) uncomfortable at a urinal. Sue (Linda Kozlowski) enjoys laying low with Mick in his scenic, serene land.

Back in Australia, the film morphs into more of a Rambo movie or Chuck Norris vehicle. The chase goes on far too long, prolonged by Dundee employing tactics like bird calls, bat bait, and a crocodile hide.
It's interesting to see Dundee go from goofy foreigner in one movie to full-on action hero in the next, but at least the sequel comes up with a plot and though it kind of comes out of nowhere, it's relatively engaging and not too formulaic.

Hogan and Kozlowski would wait another 13 years until reprising their roles again for Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, it was met with diminished interest, as it barely edged out Freddie Got Fingered for an unspectacular fourth place opening en route to a series-low $25.6 M domestic take.

Following a film that is basically altogether void of faces familiar in America, Dundee II gets modern viewers' attention with the very first film appearances of Stephen Root, Susie Essman ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), and a 7-year-old Tatyana Ali ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"). Also picking up one of their earliest theatrical credits are Luis Guzmαn and "Saturday Night Live"'s Colin Quinn.

Crocodile Dundee & Crocodile Dundee II: Double Feature Blu-ray Disc cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
Original: 2.0 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Mono 2.0 (French, Spanish, Portuguese); Sequel: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (French), Dolby Mono 2.0 (Spanish, Portuguese)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Featurette Subtitled
Release Date: May 13, 2014 / Suggested Retail Price: $22.98
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50s) / Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Still available as Double Feature DVD ($14.98 SRP; March 5, 2013) and individual DVDs: "Crocodile" Dundee ($9.98 SRP), "Crocodile" Dundee II, ($8.99 SRP; September 18, 2001)
Also available on Amazon Instant Video: "Crocodile" Dundee, "Crocodile" Dundee II

VIDEO and AUDIO

Presented in 2.40:1, both movies look pretty good without really hiding their age. The original movie lacks sharpness and some detail, though its element is untroubled save for the smallest of infrequent white specks. It's tough to know how accurate the colors are, given the extremes of Hogan's Cary Granteqsue tan. Dundee II seems like it might be plagued by grain, but that lets up before too long, allowing the sequel to look pretty nice and sharp, aside from the occasional scratch and generally pale colors.

Similarly limited, the original movie's 2.0 DTS-HD master audio mix is often dated and flat, seemingly the product of modestly-budgeted mid-'80s technology. Given a full 5.1 mix, the sequel sounds much better and lively, with its percussive score.

Paul Hogan is "Crocodile" Dundee, touts the original film's theatrical trailer. Linda Kozlowski discusses what filming in Australia means to her in a "'Crocodile' Dundee II" behind-the-scenes featurette.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Both films retain the few bonus features they got on DVD and add nothing new.
The original film is joined only by its theatrical trailer (2:40, HD), which advertises it almost entirely on the New York City material.

Dundee II is joined by a behind-the-scenes featurette (5:25, SD) with that standard 1980s publicity feel. Complementing the making-of footage are brief remarks from Hogan, who explains he wouldn't do a sequel unless it was 1½ times as good as the original, and Kozlowski, who describes what it's like to shoot in Australia.

The sequel is also joined by its original theatrical trailer (1:55, HD).

Each film gets a static, silent menu screen adapted from the cover art that's recycled from the posters. Neither disc resumes playback, but each lets you set bookmarks on the film.

No slipcover or inserts liven up the plain blue discs in the eco-friendly keepcase.

Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) admires Australia's Walkabout Creek, the home of "Crocodile" Dundee (Paul Hogan).

CLOSING THOUGHTS

"Crocodile" Dundee is such a routine fish-out-of-water,
culture clash comedy that it's tough to believe it was one of the most successful films of the 1980s. Its nearly as dated sequel takes the series in a different, more action-packed direction, with slightly better results.

Fans should appreciate getting both movies with passable HD presentations at a reasonable price, though it seems like Paramount might as well have added the unloved third film into the mix, since not many are likely to buy it on its own, whenever such an option might come to fruition.

Buy "Crocodile" Dundee & "Crocodile" Dundee II from Amazon.com:
Double Feature Blu-ray • Double Feature DVD / Instant Video: I • II

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1986: Top Gun • Ferris Bueller's Day Off • The Color of Money • Back to School • Flight of the Navigator
1980s Comedies: Planes, Trains & Automobiles • Adventures in Babysitting • Clue • Trading Places • Scrooged • The Naked Gun • Blind Date
Australia • Animal Kingdom • The Rescuers Down Under • Under Capricorn • Jungle 2 Jungle • Mr. Bean's Holiday
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Father of the Bride & Father of the Bride Part II • Sister Act & Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit • Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures

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Reviewed May 14, 2014.



Text copyright 2012 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1986-1988 Paramount Pictures, Rimfire Films Limited, and 2014 Paramount Home Entertainment.
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