Wednesday, July 17, 2002

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2002 at 12:00 AM

It’s night. In a small boat on a river in Queensland, Australia, Steve and Terri Irwin shine a light at the water to catch the red glow of a crocodile’s eyes. There he is! Steve dives into the blackness and grabs ahold of this prehistoric beast with the strength of three blokes his size. He’s got it! “If I lose my grip, he’ll rip me to shreds.” And the most amazing thing is how Steve can narrate while underwater.

If you’re a fan of the Discovery Channel’s ultrapopular nature show, “The Crocodile Hunter,” the cinematic version is a must-see, with that same damn entertaining high-drama show-and-yell — like David Attenborough meets “Jackass TV” in the Outback. Oi! Steve is the son of renowned naturalists Bob and Lyn Irwin and he’s the director of the Australia Zoo in Queensland; Terri instituted “Cougar Country,” an American animal rehab facility to re-educate and release predatory mammals.

On TV, film and in real life, the Irwins aren’t so much croc-hunters as croc-superheroes, relocating them to save their lives and the ecosystem, but in Collision Course, they should have taken a few minutes to relocate the pesky plot that keeps getting in their way. In the midst of taunting bird-eating tarantulas, saving grumpy venomous snakes from getting squashed on the road and rescuing a Joey from the pouch of its road-killed mom, a watery plot hounds the Irwins, perpetuated by personality-free CIA agents (searching for an Alpha Proton Beacon swallowed by a croc) and wacky Outback Brozzie (Magda Szubanski), a rifle-toting croc-hater with a “Dukes of Hazard” aura.

Forget about the story (I have) and dive into Steve’s refreshing “5-year-old-at-a-petting-zoo” attitude (the man even gets excited over poo!). Every once in a while, you might catch the seriousness coming through on his face to help you remember this guy could make a life-threatening slip at any time. Like when the plot and the Irwins finally collide on a dangerous road-chase: “Crikey, these blokes are mad, real mad! I’ve never seen poachers this persistent!”

Anita Schmaltz writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to


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