Everything that made the first “Crocodile” Dundee a smash hit returns in “Crocodile” Dundee II, featuring the same actors and general ethos behind the franchise’s premise. Sequels are rarely as good as the original and “Crocodile” Dundee II is no exception, introducing a bumbling gang of South American drug lords that don’t seem to pose much of a problem for everyone’s favorite Aussie. Tepid villains and a rash of new, clichéd supporting characters turn what could have been a great sequel into merely a pleasant diversion. Key once again is Paul Hogan’s memorable performance as the venerable Australian bushman, out of his element in the Big Apple.
This sequel picks up nearly where the original left us. Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) and Sue (Linda Kozlowski) are happily living together in New York City. Mick is starting to get antsy about finding work, as the two share an opulent New York condo owned by the wealthy Sue. He hasn’t quite found his place in America but seems to be getting along well enough, having made friends with a number of the locals. The Australian has become something of a local legend in New York with his unusual behavior and the series of stories that Sue wrote about him for her newspaper.
The narrative turns on when Sue’s ex-husband photographs a South American drug cartel leader shooting someone in cold blood. Luis Rico (Hechter Ubarry) is the main villain, a paper-thin caricature that would have fit with the A-Team’s litany of bad guys. It is tough to pin a film’s problem on one character but his addition to the proven Dundee formula is this movie’s weakest link. The original movie was a light comedy with sparing adventure. “Crocodile” Dundee II is firmly an adventure film, separating Mick and Sue for its first half as she gets kidnapped by the drug lord. The missing romantic tension is replaced by an inferior substitute.
Flipping the formula from the original, this time the first half takes place in a bustling New York City as Mick comes across a diverse cast of characters. The only new addition to the cast that actually adds something is a street-hustling Leroy Brown (the recognizable Charles S. Dutton), a nice guy that fakes being tough around town to live up to his name. The other new supporting characters don’t add anything, including a trite street gang of punks that help Mick rescue Sue. We still get some laughs and choice bits of funny dialogue, but most of it feels a little more predictable this time.
The second half stretches the bounds of believability, when Rico and his gang follow Mick and Sue back to Walkabout Creek in Australia. The best thing about the back end is that it reunites Mick and Sue, bringing back their excellent chemistry from the first film. The South American drug cartel has no shot at beating Mick in his own backyard, turning the hero into John McClane of the Outback. There is some fun in seeing Mick run circles around the clueless gang.
Few expect sequels to live up to their original film. “Crocodile” Dundee II makes for fine entertainment if you enjoyed the first one, and it is always great to see Paul Hogan do his thing as the capable bushman firmly out of step with the modern world. There is still some humor and romance but the sequel has more of its eye on Dundee’s action and adventure, which doesn’t work quite as well.
You shouldn’t expect too many surprises with “Crocodile” Dundee II’s picture quality. The film transfers for this and the original by Paramount are largely similar. It has a mildly dated film scan with some processing, resulting in decent picture quality for a catalog film. There is some room for improvement on the sequel’s transfer, its sharpening and possible filtering become more evident as a series of halos make their presence known in some scenes.
Like the first movie, the picture quality improves in its sharper exterior scenes with a better color palette and stronger contrast. More stringent videophiles will recognize a newer image harvest for the film transfer would have produced better results in the darker moments. The print is in average condition, containing more debris and dirt than the original Dundee’s transfer. Both movies share the same average aesthetic, though the sequel does not focus as much on the native scenery of Australia. One factor helping out video quality is a lack of optical work; this three film series was never big on FX.
This is not a terrible-looking disc, most casual viewers will be satisfied by the apparent increase in resolution and overall clarity in 1080p. I did find the original to have received a slightly better transfer with less overt processing.
This sequel is nominally an action-adventure film but lacks the sophisticated sound design of bigger action films. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is a fine, if dated, affair that capably produces a decent surround experience with occasional bursts of directionality and panning. The sound design is more expansive than the first film’s stereo mix, encompassing a larger soundstage with a bigger variety of Foley sounds. It might be my imagination but everything felt a little punchier with more low-end added for effect. Peter Best’s score incorporates a number of Australian sounds and instruments into the mix, helping to create a more lively environment for the movie.
A number of sub and dub options are included by Paramount. Dubs include a 2.0 Portuguese Dolby Digital at 224 kbps, 2.0 French Dolby Digital at 224 kbps, and 2.0 Spanish Dolby Digital. The following optional subs display in a dull white font, inside the widescreen framing: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. These are all the same options as the first film in this double-feature Blu-ray set.
Paramount found a short featurette for this sequel, which is more than can be said for the first Dundee. A commentary by Paul Hogan would have been invaluable, these are his movies and they only work because of him. The double-feature Blu-ray set includes the first two “Crocodile” Dundee movies on their own discs.
Theatrical Trailer (01:55 in HD) – The vintage trailer presented in decent shape, though it is a little mushier than good film elements.
Behind-The-Scenes Featurette (05:25 in upscaled SD) – A vintage featurette carried over from the original DVD release, though it appears to be older. Paul Hogan briefly pops up and we get snippets of on-set shooting.
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.