“Crocodile” Dundee II (1988) – A Review
Paul Hogan as Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee is back. We had to expect to see him again after his 1986 film was a colossal box office hit. And no surprise he returns in “Crocodile” Dundee II!
Dundee is now living in New York with his main squeeze Sue (Linda Kozlowski). Trouble erupts when Sue comes into some evidence against a cocaine kingpin. She gets kidnapped and it’s up to Dundee to rescue her and go toe to toe with this murderous gangster and his goons.
What better way to defeat them than leading them all back to his home turf in the Australian Outback and using his unique skills to take them down.
It was inevitable that Paul Hogan would return in another “Crocodile” Dundee movie. The first film was immensely popular, tickled audiences funny bones and warmed their hearts. Hogan endeared himself to audiences and everyone wanted to see him as his quirky Australian character again.
Plus, this was the 1980’s, the era of sequels! So, sure enough “Crocodile” Dundee II arrived two years later.
It was big hit. It was nowhere near the scale of the original (I don’t think anyone expected it to match that success). But even not making as much as its 1986 predecessor, Dundee II outgrossed Die Hard and Rambo III!
That bit of trivia helps give a perspective of how big a deal Hogan’s Dundee was at the time.
Despite it being a hit, the sequel didn’t get as warm a reception the original received. There’s a good reason for that – it’s not a very good sequel. It’s not a disaster, but its just really rather blah with only a few fun scenes sprinkled in it.
One thing that always puzzled me about Dundee II was how unfunny it is. All those amusing little scenes of Dundee brushing up against city life that kept a smile on our faces the whole time is gone. Sure, there are some jokes, but it’s not the chorus line of amusing one-liners and sight gags that made the first one so enjoyable.
Granted, it would have been tough to replay the same ‘fish out of water’ playbook from the original. Mick has been living in NY for awhile, so obviously he’s gotten acclimated a bit. Ok, that’s understandable. He’s figured out what a bidet is, he’s already won the heart of Sue, so we have to find jokes elsewhere.
It starts with a funny image of Dundee fishing in NY harbor. He tells Sue he’s going to find a job. It momentarily appears that’s the jumping off point to an expected comedy sequel.
Yet, it seems quite a bizarre decision that they took this action track with the character. Rewatching it, it felt like it was such an uninspiring way to bring Dundee back and giving him such a lazy story.
There’s a few cute jokes by Hogan and his blasé attitude during some action moments, but rather than it seeming like a sequel to one of the decades biggest comedies, the story feels better suited as a vehicle for Chuck Norris or Charles Bronson.
With Sue’s kidnapping and fighting drug dealers, the whole thing becomes more action-y than comedic. Rather than make good old Dundee the center of comedic situations, he goes into full tough guy mode and the movie becomes all about him defeating these baddies with his Outback skills.
Some of the Outback adventure do have its moments. Seeing Dundee outsmart the bad guys with some of his wildlife tricks are the sole highlights of the movie for me. That last portion isn’t as exciting as it should be though. I always felt it drags during much of it and isn’t as nail biting as its set up to be.
The humor for the most part falls flat. There are some tired jokes with Asian tourists and their ever present cameras. A NY city street gang who helps Mick save Sue is a huge detour with virtually no payoff or laughs from it. I don’t really understand why they were such a vital piece to Dundee’s plan anyway. They don’t really do much of anything other distract some video cameras. He could have asked anyone to do that.
The cocaine and drug kingpin story just felt extremely lazy. It kind of reminded me of comedies that would use the overused story of characters traveling to Europe and that often used trope of them coming into possession of some microfilm or some spy item and end up getting embroiled in a spy story to generate some laughs.
It’s an easy plot, but if you don’t have any fun situations or payoff to that setup all it ends up being is a tired story with no satisfying results. That’s what Dundee II becomes.
It’s not a complete washout. Hogan’s charm still sparkles and a few fun bits in the Outback liven things up momentarily. Some might feel like it’s a completely satisfying followup, but I never thought of it as a worthy successor to the original. I’ve always considered it more as a footnote to the original and not a worthwhile continuation to Dundee’s story.
If I want to watch Hogan’s Dundee it’s the first film that I would always goto. The sequels seem so secondary, I classify them as an afterthought – “Oh yeah, they did those sequels to Dundee”.
One thing that I have always loved about the sequel was its film poster. It is a glorious looking piece of art! Created by famed artist Drew Stuzan, the image of Hogan and Kozlowski standing over the NY City skyline is breathtaking! It certainly signals an exciting return of Dundee and makes me want to watch this movie.
I so wish movie posters would go back to using sheer awesome artistry like this to sell movies again. Today we get the usual photoshop images and uninspired closeups of faces on movie posters. I miss the time when a talented artist could inspire such excitement using their hands on talents and skills for a film poster.
When I see the image Stuzan painted for Dundee II I still get mesmerized by it all these years later. It makes more of an impact on me than the film itself.