Monday Movie Review – Crocodile Dundee (1986)

dundee poster

Crocodile Dundee is one of those cultural touchstone movies that I just never bothered with. I already knew “That’s not a knife. That’s a knife.” so I didn’t really feel the need to watch the movie. I mean, how many Australia jokes can you possibly make in one movie? Apparently the writers also struggled with that dilemma and so settled on just repeated instances of “Golly, Australians sure do sound funny, huh?” and “Haha, he doesn’t know what this city thing is.”

So the movie revolves around a New York reporter that hears a story about some guy that apparently got mauled by a crocodile in the middle of nowhere (you know, Australia(haha!)), killed the croc, and then dragged himself to get help. This is apparently enough to fly her out to Australia, have her pay a couple thousand to get a tour by the survivor (our titular Dundee), and then also fly him back to New York while putting him up in a 5 star hotel for his stay. The idea that something that would basically be a fluff piece on the news would necessitate spending multiple thousands of dollars is probably the funniest thing in the movie.

I kind of hate both of the main characters. Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee is probably the most likeable and he spends the entire beginning of the movie being the prototypical sexist man’s-man. He continually tells the reporter how she wouldn’t last 5 minutes out here because she’s a woman and how this is “man’s country”. When she goes off to prove him wrong, he stalks her, watches her strip down, and then saves her from a crocodile; basically proving that he was right all along and that she needs a good strong man. There will be plenty more of that throughout the movie where she needs to cower behind Dundee while he saves the day. Most of this tends to be the fault less of the character and more of what the movie is trying to say about what is good and desirable in a man.

Before you feel too bad for the reporter, Sue, know that she not only spends a ridiculous amount of money on this for no good reason but she also ends up blatantly cheating on her serious boyfriend. So blatantly I thought that the movie was going to establish her as having an open relationship. She makes a pass at Dundee in Australia, then they get back to New York and she immediately goes back to being lovey-dovey with her boyfriend right in front of him. She goes so far as to invite him along on a dinner date with the boyfriend, where Dundee knocks the guy out because he was, admittedly, being kind of a douche but nothing like super offensive. During all of this, “Crocodile” never appears to notice that she is in a relationship or at least never comments on it. Dundee never even seems to give a shit until she ends up getting proposed to at a party they are both at. Spoiler Alert: She doesn’t marry the guy.

The movie does have some genuinely amusing scenes but the whole “fish out of water” thing gets played out pretty quick. Paul Hogan does manage to at least come across as affable and well-meaning even if the movie does end up glorifying the idea of being a punch-first, ask questions later type of guy. I’d give the movie a 2 out of 5 and do genuinely wish it wasn’t quite so

2 responses to “Monday Movie Review – Crocodile Dundee (1986)

  1. If “Mad Max” was the Alpha of the whole Ozploitation craze, is this the Omega?

    Also, one of the few film credits of Anne Carlisle of “Liquid Sky” fame. It’s not hard to see her appearance, as she plays the transvestite that Dundee feels up in the bar.

    • I’ll be honest, the fact that the transvestite scene wasn’t way more offensive was kind of surprising to me. Paul Hogan does a great job of just making it seem like “That’s weird. Why would a guy dress like a lady?” instead “Oh my god you gross disgusting person! You tricked me!”

      Also, yeah, what was with America randomly deciding that Australia was somehow super interesting for about 8 years there?

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