Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 18, 2021)
Back in 1986, Crocodile Dundee turned into an out of nowhere smash. With a US gross of $174 million, it wound up in second place at the box office for that year, a mere $2 million behind Top Gun.
While fans are still waiting for a Top Gun sequel – with one finally due in late 2021 – 1988 brought another chapter in the Dundee saga. With a US take of $106 million on a $14 million budget, it made lots of money, but that represented a pretty steep drop from the first film’s gross.
Which may be why we wouldn’t get a third Dundee until 2001. However, that year’s disastrous Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles will need to wait for another review.
In Dundee II, we follow Australian outdoorsman Mick “Crocodile” Dundee (Paul Hogan) and American journalist Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) a year after the first film’s events. Now a couple, they reside in New York City, where Sue’s articles about Mick have turned him into a popular local figure.
When Sue’s work gets her into trouble with local gangsters, they kidnap her. Mick needs to come to the rescue to save his lady love.
When I reviewed the first Dundee, my synopsis revealed one thing: the movie didn’t really offer a plot. Half of the movie offered random Outback adventures and the other provided fish out of water comedy, all with some romance tossed in for good measure.
We didn’t find anything that I would regard as an actual storyline, though. We embarked on random episodes with the leads and that became enough to turn the film into a major hit.
Apparently those behind Dundee II figured they couldn’t make a second flick that revolved around such a loose framework, and I agree with that decision. The ambling nature of the original movie would seem lazy if done again, so Dundee II required an actual plot.
While I support the decision to make the sequel much more story-based, I can’t help but wish that the filmmakers tried to find something more creative than the tedious plot of Dundee II. “Reporter deals with threat from gangsters and needs to be rescued” was really the best they could do?
Of course, the nature of the title character allows for some twists on this theme. Mick’s rough-hewn Outback attitude gives the story a spin that it otherwise would lack.
Nonetheless, much of Dundee II focuses on the same kind of “fish out of water” material seen in the first flick. We get more tension and action than in the prior film, but the purpose remains the contrast between country boy Mick and the rigors of the big city.
As perfunctory sequels go, you can find worse than Dundee II. That doesn’t act as a real recommendation, though, so expect a fairly forgettable exercise here.