Fans of Steve Irwin's television show will already know what to expect from The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
. By the time of this, his first feature film, the Australian nature programme presenter had become a worldwide cult figure, thanks to his natural charm, good-natured wit and, most importantly, what appears to be his utter disregard for his own safety when facing some of the most dangerous wild animals on the planet. Simply put, he does things that are utterly mad, but manages to do so while appearing supremely competent. Steve Irwin is a dude.
The makers of Collision Course obviously knew this, as their attitude towards the film is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". There's a rudimentary plot that involves a renegade crocodile, a lost Top Secret American satellite and some CIA agents on a retrieval mission in the Australian Outback, but these are just a backdrop filled by forgettable characters. The real stars are, quite rightly, Steve Irwin, his wife Terri and their long-suffering dog Sui (who probably dreams of Frisbees and warm beds on those constant boat trips through the swamps of Australia). The entire film is done in the same format as the TV series, with Steve speaking directly to the camera as he handles everything from "the most poisonous snake in the world" (which, of course, he grabs by the tail), a bird-eating spider (he pokes it with a stick to show off its fangs) and overzealous "poachers" (in one of the film's funniest scenes). Plus, of course, an enormous crocodile which he wrestles underwater (fans of old Tarzan films take note!), grapples on land and lassos from a boat. Best of all, because it's Steve Irwin, you know these animals aren't props or special effects--that huge snake is real (and really angry), as is that spider crawling on his wife and that crocodile chewing on his oar. People looking for plot and substance would be better off avoiding The Crocodile Hunter. But fans of the Irwins (no matter what their age) will find this an entertaining and amusing way to spend a couple of hours.
On the DVD: The Crocodile Hunter disc has six short featurettes that take viewers behind the scenes, providing insights into how those numerous wild (and dangerous) animals were made to appear cooperative on screen. There's also an interactive commentary track providing extra trivia titbits, as well as a fairly pointless photo gallery of still images. --Robert Burrow
Big screen spin-off from Steve Irwin's popular 'Crocodile Hunter' TV series. When a NASA satellite explodes in space, two CIA agents hurry to collect its jettisoned surveillance beacon, which has landed somewhere in Australia. Meanwhile, wildlife experts Steve and Terri Irwin are on the trail of a 12-foot crocodile which has been attacking cows in North Queensland. After they finally capture the beast, Steve and Terri discover that it has swallowed the beacon the US agents seek; but the Americans then mistake the Irwins for enemy agents, leading to further trouble for the intrepid Crocodile Hunter.