Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 26, 2021)
After 1986’s Crocodile Dundee turned into a surprise smash hit, a sequel became inevitable. In 1988, Crocodile Dundee II offered that second chapter.
While far from a flop, Dundee II made substantially less money than the first flick, and that seemed to kill the franchise. However, many of those involved returned to the well for 2001’s Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.
Mick “Crocodile” Dundee (Paul Hogan) lives in his native Walkabout Creek, Australia, along with longtime partner Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) and their young son Mikey (Serge Cockburn). Journalist Sue gets recruited to help with Newsday’s Los Angeles bureau, so she, Mick, Mikey and Mick’s pal Jacko (Alec Wilson) head to sunny California.
While Sue conducts her business, Mick, Mikey and Jacko see the sights. Along the way, a mysterious death ensnares all involved in a controversy.
I don’t know for certain why Hogan and company went 13 years between Dundee films. As noted, Dundee II made a lot less money than its predecessor did, but it still made a pretty massive profit.
Perhaps Hogan simply didn’t want to wind up typecast as one character and hoped to find success in other roles. That didn’t occur, so I suspect the safety and security of Crocodile Dundee looked appealing once we got to the 21st century.
Unfortunately for Hogan, Los Angeles did nothing to help his career – and probably hurt him. Los Angeles received terrible reviews and flopped at the box office.
Like most others, I skipped Los Angeles 20 years ago. That made this 2021 Blu-ray my initial screening of the sequel.
To put it mildly, I missed nothing over the last two decades. Even by the modest standards of the Dundee franchise, Los Angeles stands as a dud.
Co-screenwriter Matthew Berry later gained success as a fantasy sports guru. It’s good he found that niche, for based on Los Angeles, he lacked any skill as a comedy scribe.
Even for 2001, Los Angeles seems tired and stale. The movie feels like they shot it in 1991 and it sat on the shelf for a decade.
That didn’t occur, of course, but the film comes across as dated. Granted, given the franchise’s 1980s roots, perhaps I should expect some of that, as the producers probably wanted Los Angeles to stay true to the source.
However, that doesn’t mean Los Angeles needed to give us something so “recycled”. Everything about the flick seems cliché and predictable.
I can’t criticize the “plot” of Los Angeles too much, as it’s not like the first two flicks offered strong narratives. However, this one’s story seems even more gratuitous.
No one went to see Dundee movies for their compelling stories. Fans just like the “fish out of water” themes and gentle comedy.
To some degree, Los Angeles attempts that same kind of mix, but everything feels perfunctory. We get a criminal enterprise that exists as nothing more than an excuse for Mick to act as the action hero, and the LA setting simply provides a new spot for Mick to clash with the dominant culture.
Perhaps if those involved found something witty or clever, this might work. Unfortunately, the film comes packed with witless “humor” that provides not a single laugh.
Hogan just looks tired here, as he appears bored with the enterprise. It feels like he did the film for a paycheck.
Los Angeles doesn’t become a terrible film, as it lacks the ambition to bring us something that knocks over the viewer with its awfulness. Nonetheless, it seems tedious and utterly uninspired. We wind up with a wholly forgettable enterprise.