Crocodile Dundee II (1988)
Release Date: May 25th, 1988 MPAA Rating: PG
Director: John Cornell Actors: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, Ernie Dingo, Steve Rackman, Charles S. Dutton, Kenneth Welsh, Stephen Root, Luis Guzman, Gerry Skilton, Hechter Ubarry
ick “Crocodile” Dundee (Paul Hogan) is nearly arrested when he uses explosives to fish in the New York harbor. But, fortunately, law enforcement already knows him and gives him a free pass, since, well, a person from Australia couldn’t possibly be expected to conform to U.S. standards of living. Mick’s girlfriend Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) finds his idiosyncrasies endearing, though she’s regularly occupied with work at the paper, which keeps them apart. Dundee is inspired to get a job for himself, but does so at the local watering hole, which finds him in the company of Leroy Brown (Charles Dutton), a rather rough character (or so his notorious reputation would suggest).
Meanwhile, Sue’s ex-husband Robert Tanner (Dennis Boutsikaris) is in Columbia, South America for a particularly dangerous project as he spies on murderous druglord Rico (Hechter Ubarry), who unsympathetically kills anyone who gets in the way of his cocaine empire. Bob is out of Sue’s life, but he uncaringly reinserts himself when he attempts to contact her with valuable photographic evidence of Rico’s activities – putting her in direct danger from the drug dealer’s assassins. In no time at all, Sue is kidnapped and Mick is lured into a trap. But, once again, the bad guys always seem to underestimate his formidability.
Right off the bat, some of the verbal jokes are repeats from before, while many of the smaller gags are cute but hardly laugh-out-loud funny. Foiling a suicide jumper, recognizing a police tail, eluding a hitman, and orchestrating an elaborate rescue attempt are mildly amusing but quiet routines for an inordinately calm adventure movie. At the same time, the predicaments encountered aren’t too far removed from the familiar territory of the previous theatrical outing. They’re essentially just easygoing (or even fantasy-oriented) gimmicks for some roughhousing in the big city (involving bumbling DEA agents) and further endeavors back in the Bush. These episodes would have been acceptable entertainment were it not for the generic, unconvincing antagonists, who behave obligatorily villainously as a substitute for genuine character development (only to reverse course and become silly stooges toward the finale). And these nemeses aren’t really in danger of dying, thanks to the PG rating and the lighthearted nature of the production.
The other major problem with “Crocodile Dundee II” is the editing. Scenes transition without clever segues, making the happenings just that much more like unrelated skits to highlight culture clashes, action bits, and comical undertakings. It’s as if the story was designed just to give Dundee a few more opportunities for humorous, heroic problem-solving rather than to create a worthwhile plot to utilize the Australian’s unique talents. It’s pretty obvious that this sequel came about to generate more money, not to build upon one of the most iconic of movie characters. Even when the setting shifts back to the Northern Territory, it’s all recurring characters and situations; there’s no real substance to it, just the intention of repetition for fans. At least, the fantastic theme music by Peter Best surfaces from time to time.
– Mike Massie