Movie review – Panda kicks butt again

2011-06-10 16:32

Film: Kung Fu Panda 2 (UIP)
Director: Jennifer Yuh
Featuring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, Dustin Hoffman and Gary Oldman
Rating: 7/10

To have a number of animals – from an obese panda to a tiny praying mantis – kick you in the face for 90 minutes is exhausting.

The good news is that Kung Fu Panda 2 is as much fun as the first film and you can avoid the exhaustion by seeing it without the third dimension – which I strongly recommend.

The smaller ones in the audience were in tears by the time things started exploding, having been bombarded by flying limbs and cannon-­ balls since the first minute of the film.

Jack Black is back as the voice of Po the panda, who was unveiled as the unlikely Dragon Warrior in the first film.

His five sidekicks – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogan) and Crane (David Cross) – have accepted that his unorthodox kung fu methods get results and have embraced his ample frame in every way.

Po’s kung fu master, Shifu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), instructs him to find inner peace, which he laughs off until another villain arrives on the scene intent on seeing off all kung fu masters for good.

The baddie is a malcontent peacock called Shen (voiced by nemesis specialist Gary Oldman).

So the stage is set for a high-kicking, kung fu-chopping climax, but as a side story, Po finally questions whether it is possible that Mr Ping (voiced by James Hong), the goose that brought him up to cook noodles, can possibly be his father.

Po, of course, takes the long way around to learn that a parent is the person who cares for you every minute of every day, regardless of a blood relationship.

Mr Ping is the most endearing character in the film and the scenes with him offer the audience some respite from the constant fighting.

But it is Po’s uncon­-ven­tional, somewhat slovenly methods that make Kung Fu Panda such a hit. He isn’t your typical hero – Tigress fulfils that role, which makes for a nice bit of role reversal.

The inner peace thing turns out to be the key to defeating the kung fu haters and the ending paves the way for another film in the franchise.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is a worthy sequel to the 2008 box-office smash hit.

However, the 3D aspect is all you’ll remember, which is a shame because the beautiful animation is lost amid the visual cacophony.

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