Wicked Old Review – Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

A 15 year late review for Crocodile Hunter : Collision Course by Tyler Tuttle

Crikey! This movie’s a mess.

The summer of 2002 was a simpler time, Nickelback was reminding us of who they really were, we all had impressive new virtual lives on the Sims, and an Australian zookeeper with unrivaled enthusiasm for animals and a show on basic cable successfully released a $12 Million dollar spy thriller onto the general public. For those who are unaware Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter was a zookeeper and television personality who hosted the popular show “The Crocodile Hunter” on Animal Planet from 1996 to 2004. The show was a documentary about Steve and his wife Terri traveling the world to find amazing and dangerous animals then provoke them into almost murdering Steve or doing something awesome on camera. Steve was especially known for his complete lack of fear and basic common sense, the man was known for casually picking up the world’s deadliest diamondback rattlesnakes, or wrestling full grown saltwater croc’s with only his Khaki ensemble and a big toothy smile for protection. Irwin’s childlike love and joy for all things living was infectious towards his audience and felt authentic like no other television personality ever. So of course the fine producers over at MGM saw this loveable aussie with an authentic passion and for animals and documentary filmmaking and decided to stick him smack dab in the middle of a hollywood spy/action/comedy.

To Irwin’s credit the film “Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course” still maintains that small screen Animal Planet feel. This could be because the film is directed by wildlife documentarian John Stainton, who had previously worked with Irwin on the television program and various other wildlife specials. Or it could be because the film itself is basically a standard episode of The Crocodile Hunter with a separate film about a lost spy satellite awkwardly edited around the footage. The two elements are so awkwardly disconnected that not only does the aspect ratio change from 4:3 in the “documentary” half to a standard widescreen 16:9 for the “movie” scenes, Steve and his wife Terri don’t even come into contact or have any awareness of the plot of the movie until the final ten minutes.

The movie opens with standard Hunter fare, Steve is chasing some lizard all over the desert so he can watch it hide in a hole and then investigate its poo. The poo had snakeskin and another lizard’s claw in case you were wondering. Steve then gives us a list of facts about this particular lizard and goes back to his jeep to drive around aimlessly and look for cool stuff. Meanwhile the CIA has a random unexplained satellite explosion which sends a valuable hard drive filled with classified information straight down to the Australian outback where it is promptly eaten by a Crocodile. This particular crocodile has been a real problem eating livestock of a local ever scowling farmer, Brozzie Drewitt ( A genuinely funny Magda Szubansk). Brozzie is hell bent on turning this particular croc into a handbag despite the conservational efforts of local sheriff Sam Flynn (David Wenham) who would much rather call someone from the local zoo (Guess who) to safely relocate the hungry Croc. Unfortunately for Steve’s relocation plans the CIA has its worst named people: Robert Wheeler (Lachy Hulme), Vaughan Archer (Kenneth Ransom), and Jo Buckley (Kate Beahan),  also chasing after the Croc which they think is actually a satellite hard drive. Of course this leads to a series of mistaken identity Hi-jinks here the Irwin’s believe the CIA to be poachers, and the CIA believe’s the Irwins to be international super spies…except it kind of doesn’t.

The main flaw with Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is that is has no idea how to tell a story and no real business trying. The lack of storytelling competency shows when they have to tell then entire third act of the CIA satellite story line via voice over and still picture during the end credits.  The movie truly shines when it’s just Steve interacting with animals and the more hollywood they inject into the formula the less enjoyable the end result was. The first time the Irwins encounter another character is about an hour into the movie as they speed past the CIA in pursuit of a croc, its then probably another 20 minutes until the climax of the film when they encounter them again.  Up until now the previous hour the movie has been a documentary about Steve, Terri, and their dog Sue, picking up random deadly creatures along the Australian outback and bringing them back to the zoo. And that’s honestly a much better movie than the one they wanted to sell us. The more they tried to move away from the television feel to justify the transition onto the big screen the more charm got lost in the process.

Maybe they should have just spent the $12 million budget on fancy cameras hi-def cameras and cool locations to explore in order to justify the audiences price of ticket, Or maybe Steve Irwin just didn’t really need his own major motion picture. Either way, I’m glad we were able to get a Steve Irwin movie anyway before his passing, even if it’s not a perfect one. The segments on animals are interesting, informative, and weirdly fun to listen too, and the final action scene is just the type of over the top goofy fun I was hoping for. The “real” scenes set at the CIA headquarters are pretty much awful but thankfully short and relatively infrequent. Luckily Magda Szubanski is an absolute delight who was able to get many genuine chuckles out of me,  making it so not every second without Steve on the screen is totally wasted. If you miss Steve Irwin you should watch this movie, If you love dangerous animals you should watch this movie, and if you’re anyone else this would be one to avoid. All in all this film receives a 2 out of 5.

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The House (2017)

I went into this movie uncertain of what to expect. Based on the previews, I really wanted to like it, but the last couple years of comedies have caused me to question my instincts, and a review embargo usually isn’t a good sign either.

After the city denies their daughter the scholarship she had won, Scott and Kate Johansen (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) discover they have no money to send their daughter to her dream college. Luckily, Scott’s friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) has a solution.

Frank’s life has fallen apart recently, his wife left him, he lost his job, and will soon be losing his house. He comes up with one of his infamous plans to make some quick cash for he and his friends. He sets up an entire PowerPoint presentation to pitch them.

His plan is to turn his house into a casino. Scott and Kate are hesitant but can’t think of any other way to make the money so they agree to do it. They start off with some homemade tables, and as they make more money, they put more into it and soon they have a full blown casino.

It doesn’t take long for it to go to their heads, and pretty soon they’re masquerading as big shots around the casino. In their efforts to show off their power they catch someone in the casino counting cards, and decide they should make an example of him. They attempt to scare the cheater by threatening to cut his fingers off, but due to a poorly timed argument involving an axe, they end up actually cutting them off. Through his screams, the cheater warns them that his boss is going to hear about this. They don’t think much of it, and kick him out.

Everything goes pretty smoothly considering the circumstances and they end up making lots of sweet, sweet cash, that is until the City manager, Bob (Nick Kroll) finds out about it and confiscates all their earnings. For about 5 minutes, they’re all pretty upset about it. Then Frank suggests they keep going because they have nothing to lose.

So once again the doors open and once again money comes pouring in, for a short time. The cheater’s boss Tommy (Jeremy Reiner) busts through the front door. The group promptly sets him on fire and that’s pretty much how the scene ends.

From here the movie begins to wind down. Bob again tries to confiscate all their money. It this time the chief of police stands against him after learning that Bob had taken the scholarship money for his personal use. So in the end, their daughter goes off to college after all.

I personally really enjoyed this movie, it was fun and legitimately funny. It brought back some of my faith in Will Ferrell. Overall I give it a 4 out of 5. I don’t know if it has much of second watch value, but it’s definitely worth a first watch.

Baby Driver (2017)

I have been looking forward to Baby Driver for awhile now. I’ve been a huge fan of Edgar Wright ever since Scott Pilgrim back in 2010. Unfortunately I may have gotten my hopes up a bit too high. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed when it was over. 

Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a teenage getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a crime boss who makes his money putting together heists with various groups of thugs including Jaime Fox, Jon Hamm, and Eiza Gonzalez. Baby is always the designated getaway driver. 

Baby’s parents died in a car accident when he was a child. He survived but suffered damage to his ears that left him with a permanent drumming in his ears. He plays music to drown it out, and as a result had been gifted with near perfect rhythm. This in turn has made him an amazing driver.

Baby pays his dues and decides to leave the game to spend time with his new girlfriend Debora (Lily James), but is dragged back in when Doc threatens her life if he doesn’t comply. He begrudgingly agrees, but has his own plans. He tells Debora to be ready at 2am for a road trip.

The plan for the heist is to hold up a post office for money order slips that they can turn to cash. Baby is sent to scout out the building for cameras and security measures. When he arrives he meets the teller (Allison King) he begins to have second thoughts about the whole thing. 

Bats (Jaime Fox) is known for killing people unnecessarily. Baby hates violence and so when he arrives at the post office for the heist, he trusts to warn the teller from the day before not to go inside. She gets nervous and alerts a security guard who comes to investigate just as the group is coming out of the building.

Now everything goes to hell and everyone but Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Baby are dead, including Buddy’s wife Darling (Eiza Gonzalez). Baby books it out of there, only to be hunted down by Buddy, who’s still a little sour about Baby’s involvement in his wife’s demise. 

After a scuffle in a parking garage, Buddy ends up dead. Baby and Debora attempt their escape, but are trapped by a police blockade. Baby decides it’s time to stop running and turns himself in. 

During his trial, no one has a bad thing to say about him. The judge gives him 10 years. For some reason Debora waits for him after only knowing him for a month or two and they go on their roadtrip together when he is released.

As I said, I enjoyed it. All in all it was a great movie, but compared to last Edgar Wright films I’ve seen, it left something to be desired. It was a solid 4 out of 5, and definitely worth watching.

– D