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百萬巨鳄 (2012)
Million Dollar Crocodile

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 07/06/2014
Summary: Skip it

“Million Dollar Crocodile” is a badly written, atrociously directed excuse for a movie. It has several parts, some better than (or not as bad as) others but no part of it rises above mediocre. The title character is an animated reptile that is realistic enough but never seems scary or even threatening. It does eat two people but they are the only real villains of the piece and both of them deserve to be munched, particularly since each of them had planned to serve it as an entree in an exotic animal restaurant.

Not much acting is on display—Barbie Hsu as Wen Yan plays everything completely over the top. She gets dumped in the middle of acres of tea fields by her scoundrel boyfriend after she finds a garter belt in the glove box of the car he used to pick her up at the airport after her eight year stay in Italy. Wen Yan has been slaving away making purses and has saved the equivalent of RMB 1,000,000 in Euros all of which is stashed in her designer bag. She runs into the croc in a tea plantation where he is wandering after escaping from an evil croc cook. She evades the lumbering beast but it swallows her purse. Barbie Hsu spends the rest of the movie screaming about her money—not really a role for the ages.

Lam Suet’s belly almost upstages the crocodile. All of his time on camera is spent wearing an unbuttoned shirt and low slung slacks that emphasize his extreme girth. He is at his oleaginous, slimy and sneaky best as Zhao, the restaurant owner. Deadpan Guo Tao is Useless Wong, the police officer sent to sort things out. He seems half asleep during most of his scenes and slightly hysterical in the rest. His son is the croc’s biggest fan. He was heartbroken when Mao (the gator has a name) is sold because the reptile petting zoo owned by Bald Liu is going broke—Bald Liu (Shi Zhao-Qi, almost as impassive as Guo Tao) thinks Mao is going to an animal sanctuary and finds out later that the knives are being sharpened in the butcher shop.

The characters are so one dimensional that the audience has no one to identify with—even when Zhao ties up Wen Yan and Wang Xiaoxing to use them as bait for the croc it is a bit of a yawn. I had the feeling that not only were the actors not on the same page, it seemed they weren’t using the same script..

There were a couple of social/cultural references that were interesting. One was unintentional. During the panic about the 30 foot crocodile Chinese police officers lined up the armory to check out firearms—one of the running jokes is that Officer Wang, dubbed Wrong Way Wang by his comrades, is never able to get a weapon until he convinces the clerk in charge that he has been practicing his shooting on video games. This was a nice touch here in the Land of the Free where openly armed civilians are becoming more commonplace. Another is Wen Yan’s sojourn in the sun-kissed embodiment of style. Apparently Italy needs to import Chinese craftspeople to fabricate their insanely expensive designer handbags.

Not worth watching

Reviewer Score: 3