Saturday, 30 March 2013

'Crocodile' Dundee (AUS, 1986)





















Like its star Paul Hogan this film was once big, real big, a force to be reckoned with, but has since completely disappeared into obscurity. There was a time when the slender blonde leather faced Hogan was everywhere here in the UK, mainly advertising beer and acting the gruff Aussie, it was very popular.

I think what is so endearing about this film is Hogan's character, his charm, lack of tact, surprising strength, rugged looks, Tarzan like abilities, gloriously over the top threads, blatant unknowing male chauvinism and the overall stereotypical rough Aussie masculinity bordering on rudeness we've all heard about. The epitome of the typical Aussie cowboy living in the merciless Aussie outback.

Yet despite all that he's still a decent man, good natured, bit of a ladies man and a very likeable fellow who does what's right (most times) or what he believes is right. He accepts who he is and we the audience accept it too, he's a bit of a lad (albeit middle aged lad).

I tend to think that the rather over board portrayal of Mick Dundee is kinda toyed with for the international audience. I'm sure there are folk like this in the depths of the outback but the extreme stereotyping going on I think is there to make people laugh, give them what they expect but bigger. Everybody has a perception of different people from different countries and this is what many countries probably expected to see (at the time) when it came to Aussie blokes living in the bush (or Aussie males as a whole).

The ragtag, scruffy, unwashed, unshaven, dirty shirt wearing bar patrons in Walkabout Creek pretty much some up the humongous stereotyping going on. Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe this IS how blokes in small desert towns of Australia's outback look and behave! Maybe all the sheila's are rather butch with cropped hair and work behind the bar...beats me, but it seems a tad forced.

The plot is pretty much your Prince Charming type affair really, but in the Aussie outback, a modern day Tarzan. The beautiful blonde Kozlowski goes walkabout with Hogan's Dundee, gets into dangerous situations, shown how to survive, meets local Aboriginal tribes folk and slowly falls in love with the athletic bushman.

The first half of the film is set in the outback of Oz and displays terrific scenery alongside some great visual gags and exciting moments, including Kozlowski's ass! The second half of the film is set on the streets of New York and again displays some genius visual gags (for the time) alongside more expected exciting moments...you just knew the pair would come across street punks at some point.

What is amazing is back in the day (and now even) this film was a fresh idea, it was quite unique and still is really. If you scratch beneath the surface it tends to have a kind of 'Police Academy' motif/theme really, lots of obvious setups for hero moments, love scenes, silly gags etc...But its such a slice of good wholesome cheer I really can't fault it at all.

You know what I'm gonna say...looking back this film is horrendously cliched, cheesy and predictable, seriously so. But back in the 80's this was a tremendous hit and rightly so, it has everything you could want for a great fun time with a lovely happy ending. Only downer I can see is this franchise totally typecast Hogan and pretty much ended his film career as he never bettered this, his best rough bluecollar Aussie charmer.

8/10