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Mick and Sue continue where they left off in "'Crocodile' Dundee". New York drug lords are pursuing Sue for having solid evidence against them for murder, so for her safety, Mick takes her back to Australia. When the gangsters follow them, Mick demonstrates his outback skills once more. Written by
Not as "Fun" as the Original, but Still Worthwhile (7/10)
If you saw the original, this one will seem like a visit with an old friend, that being the likable Mick `Crocodile' Dundee. This time around there's not as much `whimsy' to it, though, and as things get a bit more heavy-handed, Mick finds himself in some rather murky waters as the story unfolds. Still, the appeal of the character and the easy, intrinsic humor at the heart of the film is enough to make `Crocodile Dundee II,' directed by John Cornell, a satisfying cinematic experience.
As the film opens, Mick (Paul Hogan) is happily ensconced in New York City with his lady-friend, journalist Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski), and life is good. Mick, however, tired of just laying about has decided it's time to seek gainful employment, and sets out to do just that. His job search gets put on hold, though, when Sue's ex-husband, Bob Tanner (Dennis Boutsikaris), a journalist currently covering a story in South America, sends some photographs he's taken-- the subject of which is of a particularly serious and sensitive nature-- to Sue, and something else arrives along with the them: Trouble. Trouble, as in the man in the pictures is one `Rico' (Hechter Ubarry), a big time drug dealer who is more than a little concerned about the compromising position these particular photos will undoubtedly put him in. He will stop at nothing to get them, and he has the `muscle' to do it. But there's one small item Rico hasn't factored in to his agenda and his plan of attack. And his name is Mick Dundee.
Written by Paul Hogan and his son, Brett Hogan, this film suffers the `Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' syndrome, in that-- like the `Indy' film-- it is a sequel to a hugely successful original, and takes that same `turn' toward the dark side. And in the case of this film, it's even more noticeable inasmuch as this is a comedy rather than a pure action/adventure movie, and-- let's face it-- it's tough to find a light, comedic touch in a film that deals with a kidnapping, killings and drug dealers. Still, just as Spielberg did with the `Indy' sequel, Hogan pulls it off; and he does it with a winning smile and bit of sleight-of-hand.
As the great Steve Allen would say, `All seriousness aside, folks--' And in a nutshell, that's the trick Hogan, Hogan and Cornell use to make this offering a viable commodity. Taken out of context, the story alone is serious stuff, more conducive to a `Traffic,' `Blow' or `Scarface' than a `Crocodile Dundee' movie. But therein is the rub; the filmmakers here take a lighthearted approach to a serious issue, being careful, however, not to discount or be dismissive of it, but rather by toning down the `results' of the violence while infusing it with humor and some genuinely engaging characters, and presenting it all in a way that is palatable to a wide audience.
Cornell, like Peter Faiman (who directed `Crocodile Dundee'), is destined to be the forgotten man of this project, and for the same reasons. Cornell takes the wheel of the ship here, takes his audience on a cruise then deposits them safely back on shore, where most will agree it was a trip worth taking. But in the end, there is nothing about it that identifies Cornell; nothing with his `signature' on it. And, like Faiman, he only directed one other film, `Almost an Angel' in 1990 (also starring Hogan and Kozlowski), which was mediocre at best. So there's simply nothing to reference him. He may have been the captain of the ship, and he did a good job, technically speaking, but he kept himself in the wheelhouse too long to be noticed.
Hogan, meanwhile, was taking center stage in the lounge, successfully reprising his role as everyones favorite `Aussie.' Without question, no matter what Paul Hogan does for the rest of his career, this is the character moviegoers everywhere will forever associate him with, and for good reason. Quite simply, Mick Dundee is just such a likable bloke. And it's a theme that runs throughout the entire series-- everybody likes him; no matter where he goes or who he meets, he makes them feel as if they've known him all their lives. He's amiable, good looking, charismatic, and has an entirely non-judgmental, matter-of-fact way of dealing with people and situations that provides a refreshing perspective on the human condition. That's what makes this character so memorable, and there's no getting around it: Just as Leonard Nimoy will always be `Spock' regardless of whatever else he ever does, Hogan will always be Crocodile Dundee. Because he IS Mick Dundee.
Also in fine form for this second go round is the beautiful Linda Kozlowski, returning to the role she created in the original, Sue Charlton. And-- as in the first one-- it's the on screen chemistry between Kozlowski and Hogan that really sells it; whether it's in the Australian outback or on the streets of New York City, they find the magic, and it comes through to the audience, loud and clear. This isn't, of course, the kind of stuff that wins Oscars, but her performance is honest and convincing, and Kozlowski has a screen presence that is altogether natural and real, all of which makes the relationship between Sue and Mick all the more believable.
Also turning in noteworthy performances are John Meillon, returning as Mick's friend and business associate, Walter Reilly; Charles Dutton as the street wise Leroy; and Ubarry, who makes Rico the bad guy you love to hate.
The supporting cast includes Juan Fernandez (Miguel), Kenneth Welsh (Brannigan), Ernie Dingo (Charlie), Luis Guzman (Jose), Jace Alexander (Rat) and Steve Rackman (Donk). An entertaining film, but not nearly as `fun' as the original (the `Indy' syndrome, again), `Crocodile Dundee II' is nevertheless a worthy addition to the series, as it puts you together with one of the screen's most unforgettable characters, `Crocodile' Dundee. 7/10.
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