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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Croczilla (2012) aka Million Dollar Crocodile – Review

Stories of Man vs Nature have been around since the dawn of time, ever since man first painted images of themselves fighting sabre toothed cats on the walls their of caves, but modern audiences now seem to be inundated with movies where some type of giant beastie is out to get us, sadly very few of them are any good. Back in 1975 Spielberg made everyone terrified of going into the water with his summer blockbusters Jaws but that excellent film spawned hundreds of imitators of less than stellar quality. Killer grizzlies, voracious piranha, and tons of killer shark films followed in the wake of Jaws but the killer alligator/crocodile movie has almost become a genre on its own, and that brings us to today’s entry Croczilla or as it is also called…

million dollar crocodile

The title of this Chinese movie was changed from Million Dollar Crocodile to Croczilla for Western audiences and is probably the biggest mistake the distributors made as its original title is easily more fitting. When one hears the title Croczilla the image of a mammoth reptile towering amongst skyscrapers leaps to mind and not that of an eight metre crocodile that just so happened to swallow a handbag full of money. Adding to that misstep is that when giving your movie a poster like this…

croczilla poster

…one would assume your film is going to have some series carnage and not a body count of three people and a goat which is what we actually get here. Instead of giant monster rampage we find ourselves watching a comedy about a boy, his dad, some moronic restaurateurs and a girl who really wants her money back. You see the plot hinges on a large crocodile that is sold to a group gangsters that have a restaurant that specializes in croc meat, not being to keen on the idea of being eaten the crocodile escapes and during its initial rampage it knocks one of the gang into a group of crocodiles where he is quickly devoured, then the big croc runs into pretty girl wandering through a tea field and ends up swallowing her handbag which just so happens to contain 100,000 euros. Wackiness ensues.

where is my money 
Your enjoyment of her comedy stylings may vary.

At the center of this movie is 10 year old Xiao who had befriended the croc while it was a resident of his grandfather’s Crocodile Farm which had fallen on hard times forcing the old man to sell his stock to nefarious individuals. The kid shows no self-preservations instincts as at one point his school report card falls into the crocodile enclosure and he quickly runs in after it only to then wrap it around some ham and feed it to Amao the giant crocodile.

this movies kenny 
This film’s Kenny.

If this kid wasn’t annoying enough we are next introduced to his dad who is a police officer that no one respects because he is apparently a terrible shot and not allowed to carry a gun. He spends his spare time at home with his son playing Nintendo’s original Duck Hunt to sharpen his shooting skills. Also he is an overprotective parent that will not let his son go out and play with the local boys but instead forces him to stay home and count kernels of corn. Is this a thing parents do in China?

wrong cop 
In lieu of a hero we get this guy.

Eventually the cop and the girl whose money was swallowed team-up and try to find Amao before it eats anyone and hopefully retrieve her money. The evil restaurateurs get wind of the amount of money supposedly in the belly of the beast and they themselves enter the fray and because they are evil at one point they hang the boy and the girl upside down as croc bait.

bait for the beast 
Sadly neither of these two are eaten.

For me the film failed on pretty much every level; it isn’t horrifying because Amao isn’t a monstrous killing machine but a poor animal trying to get to it’s breeding grounds to lay her eggs, it isn’t a good comedy as the humor is much too broad for my tastes and the leads too annoying to root for, and the CGI effects for the crocodile though better than what one would get in a SyFy original are nothing to write home about. Overall the film was tedious as characters continued to just run around in circles screaming about the croc or the money, drumming up not one ounce of supsense. At no point did I care for anyone except maybe Amao.

bad comic relief 
Certainly not these guys.

This isn’t the worse of the killer crocodile/alligator genre but it doesn’t hold a candle to such films as Alligator, Lake Placid or Rogue and as a farce it wasn’t all that funny either.   What also didn’t help was the fact that it even lifted the creature swallowing a phone and the heroes hearing it ring from inside it’s belly gag from Jurassic Park III.  I guess we should just be happy they didn’t try and rip off anything from The Lost World: Jurassic Park or we could have ended up with Xiao using gymnastics to fight the crocodile.

 This is a confused mash-up of a monster film with a French farce where neither element really works. The giant crocodile isn't a bad effect just not always that convincing. Recommended for die hard fans of the genre only.

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