Enjoying "Collision Course" (IMDb listing) boils down to one simple thing: Can you stand Steve Irwin? The nuclear-powered animal preservationist who¹s spent the last decade burning up the ratings with his television show, Irwin finally brings his trademarked schtick to the big screen. A low-tech, but unpretentiously entertaining romp, "Collision Course" might not win any awards, but it's one of the few films that doesn't jab itself down your throat.
Now, there is a story to "Collision Course," but I couldn't tell you precisely what it is. It's a loosely hung narrative about a government satellite thingy that's fallen to Earth in Australia, and into the waiting mouth of a crocodile. American agents want to retrieve it, but the natives don't take kindly to their trespassing. Some double-crossing occurs, along with a running joke about a pack of violent dogs chasing everybody. But stuck in the middle of all this "story" are Steve and Terri Irwin. Running around the Outback, filming their show, the married team is called in to relocate the much-desired croc and in the process they get caught up in all the confusion.
"Collision Course" is about the furthest thing from a stretch a movie can get for an actor. But to call Steve an actor is a stretch indeed. Divided into two parts--one being the story, the other being Steve and Terri running around checking out animals--"Collision Course" isn't the colossal cinema debut people might be expecting. Half the movie plays exactly like the television show, and the other half hardly registers a pulse. But because Steve is such a gargantuan personality, and because he's also one of the few preservationists who seems to really care about the animals (that borderline psycho Jack Hanna being another one), the film is a breeze to watch. Hardly strenuous filmgoing, but fascinating, charming, often hilarious, and delightfully simplistic in its ambitions.
It's so good-natured that I'm even willing to forgive the flatulence and "poo" humor the film sometimes resorts too. The message is clear: Animals are not monsters. "Collision Course" hardly stumbles from this simple goal. It's fun to watch Steve playing up the hero aspects of the film as if he were in "Raiders Of The Lost Ark," but he and director John Stainton know the limitations when it comes to the real "acting" (with Terri utterly wooden). The film doesn't tax Steve's dramatic side too much. This frees him up for another round of chasing after spiders, snakes, and of course, crocodiles. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Filmfodder Grade: A-