Retro Review: Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles

This third time isn’t the charm. Poor Paul Hogan brings his beloved character out of mothballs to make a third installment of a character who hasn’t seen the light of day in 13 years.

Crocodile Dundee in LA stars Hogan’s beloved character as he follows his wife (Linda Kozlowski) to Los Angeles when she has to take on a newspaper job when a dear old friend is killed while investigating a new Hollywood studio.

Accompanying Dundee is his young son who Dundee is teaching about the ways of being a man.

Crocodile Dundee 3 works for about the first 20 minutes or so as we get reacquainted with the people of Walkabout Creek. But as soon as the plot gets started, the film loses direction and feels more like a direct to video sequel than a real movie worthy of a theatrical run. This does beg the question, why didn’t it go straight to video?

Paul Hogan and all his Australian buddies are delightful but this film really needed a better script. Like all comedies it’s the fast delivery of the jokes, the charm of the situation and interesting characters that always sells a film. In this film’s case all the funny moments are basically in the trailer.

The best jokes and scenes occur before Dundee leaves the outback. This is a shame especially since there is about an hour to go in the film after they depart. The small things I liked in LA were Dundee’s son’s teacher who is obsessed with finding a grizzled outdoorsman, the pickpocket at the parade scene and the mugging scene. These three scenes for me were the ones that made me chuckle the most.

When the filmmakers sat down to revisit the character of Crocodile Dundee, they should have looked at the first two entries in the series more carefully. The first one worked because it was the classic fish-out-of-water story where a hillbilly comes to the big city and clashes with the locals.

In the second one, we learn that Dundee is more of an adventurer and has to face off against some Columbians in the outback to save himself and his lady-love. The filmmakers in the second one tried to go for an action-comedy angle and succeeded on some levels but failed on others.

The second one was a good attempt at trying to evolve the character. The third installment makes the character look more like a buffoon then a hero as he thinks he can become a private eye and take down a corrupt studio executive (played by Jere Burns). Why not have him deal with a threat in the Aussie outback instead of leaving all those delightful characters behind. Just an idea.

For all you Spiderman fans out there you may recognize the art dealer that Dundee and wife approach to appraise the paintings. It is none other than Nicholas Hammond, who played Peter Parker/Spiderman in the “Amazing Spiderman” feature films and television series during the seventies.

“Crocodile Dundee 3” kind of reminds of what happened when they brought back Axel Foley for Beverly Hills Cop 3. The classic character needs a reason to be revisited and the looking back fondly shouldn’t be for nostalgia or a gimmick but for an evolution and further development of the character. Both these third films in the series failed because they forgot what made the characters special in the first place. Dundee was never a buffoon and especially in #2 he proved he was also brave, cunning and quite intuitive.

It is a shame that they forgot all the ground they brought to light in the second film and instead decided to dumb down the character for a quick buck.

(2 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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