- July 14, 2002 (USA)
- John Stainton
- John Stainton
- Holly Goldberg Sloan
- Cast (partial listing)
- Steve Irwin as Himself
- Terri Irwin as Herself
- Magda Szubanski as Brozzie Drewitt
- David Wenham as Sam Flynn
- Timothy Bottoms as George W. Bush
- Executive Producer
- Bruce Willis (yes, that Bruce Willis)
A crocodile in north Queensland, Australia has swallowed an expensive
and important tracking device from a satellite. Completely ignorant of
this, a crocodile hunter must save that same croc from being killed by an
angry land owner (Szubanski).
On a scale of 1 to 10, this movie sucks.
Okay, it's a kiddie movie. It's rated PG in the United States and
United Kingdom. It's 90 minutes in length. The filmmakers weren't exactly
shooting for Oscar-caliber material. But they failed on
so many levels to make an entertaining movie.
Steve Irwin is the Crocodile Hunter, and Terri ("Ter") is his wife.
They go out in search of crocodiles and other wildlife in the Australian
outback. Their show on the Discovery Channel normally runs 30 minutes in length, including
commercials. Here, we are presented with what is essentially a triple-length
episode of "Crocodile Hunter" with the commercials replaced by a hopelessly
thin plot involving the CIA, National Reconnaissance Office, and
a crazed Queenslander who wants to kill a croc.
The backstory is explained thoroughly in the first five or so minutes.
The United States has lost contact with a satellite, and it turns out that
the tracking drone has landed somewhere in the outback. Two bumbling CIA
agents are sent to Australia to go find it.
That's the entirety of plot A. The subplot is explained
in the following few minutes: Brozzie Drewitt is at odds with a crocodile who
she believes is encroaching upon her land, and threatens to kill it with
her shotgun. (Actually, she threatens to kill everything with
her shotgun, but that's not the point.)
commercial plot break is over, we're treated to a total
of roughly 60 minutes of Steve Irwin taunting snakes, spiders, and other
wild creatures for no reason. This is educational, I suppose, and Irwin
plays to the camera better than any other animal expert I've seen. (Try
watching a Jack Hanna film if you don't believe this.) Ter plays the
helpful wife/sidekick, providing additional information and driving
In the meantime, the CIA sends its bumbling agents to rendezvous with
a hot Australian field agent and start tracking their drone.
The agents are very naive, as underscored by this representative sample
of a segueway between scenes:
Bumbling CIA Agent: Come on, what could go wrong? There's
nothing dangerous in Australia.
(cut to extreme close-up of Steve)
Steve Irwin: Crikey! This snake is one cruel bugger!
Look at its venom! And I think it wants a go at me ball sack!
Get it? Get it? If you didn't get it, you're
subjected to candid shots of Steve's crotch being assaulted by snakes
no fewer than four times in a 90-minute movie. This is all
his own fault, by the way, and Ter sits in the Range
Rover enjoying the air conditioning while her husband stands on the verge
More nature talk, more nature talk... cut to Brozzie. Brozzie's
crazy, you see. She releases the
hounds on all trespassers, including Australian wildlife conservation
agents. She lives alone. She hates the croc. She baits the croc with a
chicken, then tries to reel it in. She falls. Poetic justice
yada yada yada...
Crikey! For reasons not explained in the film at all, Steve's
croc sense has started tingling and he drives hundreds of miles across
Queensland (the Range Rover apparently has a 100-gallon gas tank) to
the area near Brozzie's land where the croc is.
Meanwhile, in Washington...
Apparently the National Reconnaissance Office has been double-crossed.
Their shit-for-brains agents should be using
their overly noisy GPS to locate the tracking
drones. Shots of black-tie affairs and eerily dramatic cell phone
conversations follow, with the heads of the CIA and NRO talking with
agents, each other, and the idiots in Australia. Yes, the filmmakers
thought they could make a political thriller out of
this movie. Why? Parents have already tuned out by
this point, and kids are totally lost.
Meanwhile, in Australia...
The agents have found the signal, but it's weak. Maybe it's underwater?
They track it to -- where else? -- Brozzie's land, where they run into
Brozzie and are held prisoner by her ruthless dogs.
Steve Irwin has been contacted by somebody to help save the croc from
Brozzie's shotgun, yet he stops every goddamn five minutes
to avoid running over a snake. But no, he can't just chuck the snake aside.
He has to talk for ten more minutes about the snake
and why it's so important that their Range Rover not smush it.
Why does anyone trust Steve Irwin to save wildlife when he
has to stop every five minutes to talk to the camera?!
And oh yeah, the CIA uses Steve's visits to places like East Timor to cast him as some sort of terrorist who must be wiped out because he is endangering freedom. While the references are purely tongue-in-cheek and do not use the T-word, they were wholly unnecessary and stupid. Of course, by this point in the film, "stupid" resonates at 60 Hertz in your brain.
The film's main action sequence is a boat chase involving the CIA agents (who Irwin believes are poachers; apparently the CIA doesn't teach its agents to identify themselves) and the Irwins' motorboat. It's here that we learn the shameful truth about Ter: even though Terri is playing herself, she can't act. Lines like "Steve!" (horrified) or "Oh no! I think they're getting closer!" are delivered in a totally flat monotone voice. Steve Irwin's asides are fast and furious (always ad-libbed; neither Steve nor Terri used any scripts, according to IMDb) but Ter can't get into the right mood during the most energetic of scenes.
Will the croc be saved? What will happen to the tracking device? I'll
save the spoilers for someone else. What I can tell you is that
this movie has no ending -- apparently the directors
decided to cut off the movie at the 90-minute mark and stop editing. After
a few outtakes, Irwin helpfully explains all the important bits that tie
up what little plot this movie has. After that, you can leave.
I saw this movie outside in Schenley Park in
Pittsburgh as part of the free
Cinema in the Parks series. Several members of our group left about 20
minutes into it, while the rest of us stayed for the sheer shamelessness of
the movie. The movie did scare one of our group members a bit,
what with scary action sequences with poor special effects and jumping
crocs with big teeth. That explains the PG rating.
According to IMDb, this movie cost $13 million to make and recouped
its costs -- US revenues were over $28 million. Not exactly a
summer blockbuster (it premiered July 14, 2002) but not bad for a kids