* Prices may differ from that shown
The screen success of Mick (Crocodile) Dundee is based, quite literally, on nothing. Nothing is the thing that Dundee, in the disarming person of the Australian star Paul Hogan, does best. Mr. Hogan's calm, unflappable reactions to the various facts of New York City life were the comic foundation of ''Crocodile Dundee,'' turning its mild, genial humor into box-office gold. It would be natural to expect more of the same from ''Crocodile Dundee II,'' but the sequel often lacks the sense to leave well enough alone.
''Crocodile Dundee II,'' which opens today at Loews Astor Plaza and other theaters, is noticeably longer than the first film, and it's less enjoyably lazy. This time, stranded in New York, Dundee has begun to grow restless, and the film itself shows a comparable malaise. This is apparent right away, in the scene that shows Dundee up to his old outdoorsman's tricks, dynamiting fish in the middle of New York Harbor. The police arrive, and when they recognize Dundee they shake their heads with rueful admiration, as do a group of children in a playground scene moments later. It's a danger sign when a character is allowed to grow lovable in this way.
The plot - and that's the main trouble with ''Crocodile Dundee II''; it has one - soon involves Dundee with a Colombian drug kingpin. This mastermind, named Rico (Hechter Ubarry), has kidnapped Sue (Linda Kozlowski), the stylish Newsday reporter with whom Dundee has now moved in. So the screenplay, by Mr. Hogan and his son Brett, must trump up a reason for the abduction, let Mick Dundee do a lot of worrying as proof of how much he loves Sue, and otherwise create too much unremarkable action and too much of an actor's role for Mr. Hogan, whose great gift is for offhand humor. Only late in the film, when he has returned to Australia and begun playing practical jokes involving bats and alligators, does Dundee have much chance to shine.
The film's first hour, the one set in New York, also has quite a touristy tone. There are urban caricatures for Dundee to marvel at, street scenes that would warm the heart of any travel agent, a tour of Bloomingdale's (where Dundee has a brief chance to use his woodsman's skills), and even an official tour guide showing off ''the legendary New York City subway.''
These episodes are very welcome, since Mr. Hogan remains a likable fellow under any circumstances, even when John Cornell's direction is so slow it takes the snap out of the actor's comic timing. But too often, Mr. Hogan's amusing moments give way to the tedious, overacted exploits of the drug kingpin and his henchmen, who have their headquarters in a suburban mansion and who smirk endlessly about their ill-gotten gains. The kingpin remains a large part of the story even after Dundee and Sue have fled to Australia for a change of scene.