Crocodile Dundee II Review

Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) has been living in New York for a few months now with Sue (Linda Kozlowski). However, Sue’s ex-husband obtains photographic evidence of a Colombian druglord’s crimes, which makes Sue and Mick a target for New York gangsters. Mick takes Sue back to Australia, but the gangsters follow them…

Considering how big a hit 1986’s Crocodile Dundee was, it was inevitable that there would be a sequel. Whether there should have been is another matter. Considering how much the first film relied on Dundee’s country-boy naivete, what would the film do for jokes once he got used to the Big Apple? But I doubt that ever troubled Hollywood’s accountants. However, nothing prepared us for how lazy a sequel Crocodile Dundee II was. Most of the jokes are rehashed from the first film, which reversed the formula by spending its first half in New York and its second Down Under. Even the newer ones have a sour edge to them, such as a sequence where Dundee tries to talk a man down from jumping off a ledge – a scene with a homophobic punchline. Hogan cowrote the script with his son Brett. John Cornell (who produced and cowrote the first film) stepped in as director. No-one will claim that Peter Faiman on the first film did anything more than a competent job, but he did it far better than Cornell does here. The pacing is lackadaisical – not for nothing is this film nearly a quarter hour longer than its predecessor. An increased budget gives added gloss to Russell Boyd’s camerawork, but it doesn’t hide the huge amount of dead space on screen. Like just about every other major-studio Scope film of the time shot with anamorphic lenses, Crocodile Dundee may be in 2.35:1 but every shot is composed so that it can easily be panned and scanned to 4:3. Par for the course, unfortunately, with television driving big-screen aesthetics, but this is a more obvious example of “TV Scope” than most. This film, watched sixteen years after its original release, does not improve on a second viewing. Instead, it gets more and more tedious as it goes along.

It’s sad to see John Meillon looking very old and tired, in one of his last films. He died the following year of liver disease, aged only 55. At the other end of the cast you can see Luis Guzman in an early role. Although Russell Boyd’s camerawork has much less character than his work on the first Crocodile Dundee, it at least beguiles the eye and, first time round at least, helps to disguise the fact that nothing is going on. For Hogan, enough was enough. His subsequent films, Almost an Angel, Flipper and Lightning Jack, had little impact, likewise 2001’s last-gasp Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.

This Paramount DVD, originally available separately, is released in a two-for-the-price-of-one digipack with the first Crocodile Dundee. The disc is encoded for Region 2 only. It’s presented in an anamorphic transfer in the ratio of 2.35:1. It’s sharp and colourful, with strong blacks. There is some aliasing visible in the darker scenes but nothing too distracting.

The English-language soundtrack this time is Dolby Digital 5.1, with the foreign-language dubs in surround-encoded Dolby Digital 2.0. However, the main soundtrack doesn’t sound anything different to a Dolby Surround track, with some separation given to Peter Best’s music score, and the surrounds given over to the score and some directional sound. It’s a remix of the original Dolby Stereo that played in the cinema, and it lacks the punch of a true discrete Dolby Digital track. The subwoofer is virtually silent throughout.

This is the complete version of Crocodile Dundee II restoring one second originally cut by the BBFC (a man being executed by being shot in the head). There are twenty chapter stops.

First off is the theatrical trailer, which is 16:9 anamorphic with mono sound and runs 1:49. There are no subtitles available. The other extra is a behind-the-scenes featurette clearly made at the time for an electronic press kit. It runs 5:25 and is full-frame. It’s much as you would expect: on-set footage mixed with interviews with Hogan. A full range of subtitles is available for this extra.

Crocodile Dundee II was a sequel too far. That said, if you are interested in it, packaging it with the first film in a two-for-one box is good value.

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