The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002)

Rating: ***
Release Date: 7/12/02
Cast: Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin

Crikey! Inspiring, adventurous fun from Steve and Terri Irwin, Animal Planet's famous "crocodile hunters." Their transition to the big screen works much better than I could have imagined, which I was very skeptical about. I mean, how do you take a realistic nature show and turn it into an adventure film? Their approach is very interesting, as the classic Steve and Terri that we know clash with the outside world and get laughably branded as international terrorists by the CIA. The absurd side story involves a couple of government agents who are sent to Australia to retrieve a black box from a fallen satellite. A crocodile gets to the device first, and the croc is naturally linked back to Steve. After some goofy light-hearted action, everything works out and the government finally gets their property back. The only elements of the film that are entertaining are the scenes that follow Steve and Terri on one of their typical animal excursions. But the real beauty is that when they get off track and start engaging with the outside world, their interactions and camerawork are identical to their show. Somehow this works, and is very entertaining. In the middle of a car chase or a fist fight, Steve continues to talk to the camera and make remarks and observations about his adversaries. Terri sees a fair bit of action herself (including an obviously staged gratuitous cleavage shot), but is not the performance artist that Steve is, and is visibly uncomfortable during many scenes. Of course, most of the Irwins' scenes involve REAL action with REAL creatures, although the level of "reality" is often questionable (just like any nature show). However, there's no doubt that the dangers are REAL, and the entire film bristles with fear and adrenaline. Definitely a lot of good old fashioned, unpretentious fun.