Directed by John Stainton, starring Steve Irwin, Terry Irwin, Magda Szubanski and David Wenham.

Every backpacker's must-read for their year in Australia is the Bill Bryson book 'Down Under' in which he lovingly lists all the nasty critters that can kill you in the Antipodes. From homicidal crocodiles to lethal toilet-dwelling spiders, every inch of the place is crawling with something that has a vested interest in seeing that you don't make it home.

It's the only kind of land that could have bred a man like Steve Irwin. Wrestling his first crocodile at the age of nine, the happy-go-lucky Stevo has since gone on to become an internationally known TV naturalist, noted for his intimate style with poisonous animals. His shows are so popular that there seems to be little logic in transferring him to the big screen, particularly when there is no use made of its wider scope, and the plot - if you could call it that - is just squeezed in around his normal antics.

Basically Steve does as he does on the TV show - holding snakes, spiders and crocs up to the camera and telling the audience all about that particular "little beauty" or "sweetheart", laying life and limb on the line in the process, with an occasional "crikey!" when something nearly gets out of hand. His monologues are frequently interrupted as he slaps at distracting flies or biting ants while he tries to calm the angry animal - which wouldn't be angry if he wasn't dangling it by the tail or poking it with a stick. Half the fun is in wondering how often he gets bitten. He's assisted by long-suffering wife Terri, also playing herself ("That was a close one, Steve!"), and their dog Sui, who undoubtedly has more cop than her human companions, swimming for the shore when Steve is about to wrestle crocodiles into the boat.

Dropped on top of this enthralling - and frequently funny - footage is a rather bizarre plot. The US government has lost a satellite and its black box – containing information that could change the power structure of the entire modern world - has landed in Queensland: Stevo territory. When a big "saltie" crocodile swallows the black box, there's a three-way chase between Steve who wants to relocate the animal, feisty cattle rancher Brozzie (Szubanski) who just wants kill it and a trio of gormless CIA agents who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the box.

In the end of the day, don't bother about the so-called 'plot' - Steve evidently doesn't, working away as if he's on a normal day's filming. He is, as always, compulsively watchable, upping the ante for every other naturalist on the planet and making sure that his eco-message gets through. For those who haven't managed to catch him on cable, 'The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course' is a great introduction to this hyperactive Aussie nutter.

Caroline Hennessy