Kung Fu Panda 2 Movie Review

Jack Black's cuddly alter-ego is back for another epic adventure in this lively, colourful sequel. It pretty much has the same plot as the final act of the 2008 original, and it's not quite as funny, but it's beautifully animated and thoroughly engaging.

Now that Dragon Warrior panda Po (voiced by Black) has joined the Furious Five (Jolie's tigress, Rogen's mantis, Chan's monkey, Liu's viper and Cross' crane), there's peace in the valley again. But in a distant kingdom, the villainous peacock Lord Shen (Oldman) has developed a secret weapon with which he plans to take over China and put an end to kung fu. Although he's been rattled for decades, since his soothsayer (Yeoh) told him he'll be conquered by a panda.

And he knows the Dragon Warrior is on his way.

As before, the film's main joke is that Po is a food-obsessive lazybones, although he's also now a formidable fighter, which kind of undermines the gag.

So the screenwriters instead try to develop his relationship with Tigress while cranking up his daddy issues. He was of course raised by a noodle-cooking goose (James Hong), and Po now learns that his past is linked, Voldemort-style, with Lord Shen, who has daddy issues of his own.

None of these things are developed, but at least they give the characters motivation, and there are hints that this element will open the door to more revelations in Part 3. While it's consistently amusing, the writers could have developed the comedy much further while giving the side characters something to do (Chan, Liu and Cross have about two lines each in the whole film). All of this makes the voice performances feel somewhat subdued.

On the other hand, the vividly textured 3D animation is a great leap forward.

Action scenes are fiery and colourful, with complicated battle tactics that are both funny and thrilling. And the flashback animation is gorgeous. The film is best when it plays with the geography and architecture of China, and less interesting when the fighting takes place in another scaffold-filled warehouse.

It may not be as sharp as the first film, but this franchise still has a lot of promise.

Cast & Crew

Director : Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Producer : Melissa Cobb

Comments

Kung Fu Panda 2 Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG, 2011

Advertisement

More Jack Black

Sex Tape Movie Review

Although it presents itself as a rude sex comedy, this movie is actually a prudish exercise in simplistic moralising. A glut of sweary dialog and...

Nickelodeon Planning 'School of Rock' TV Series

Whilst it's not yet known if Black will return to repise his role as penniless musician turned eccentric music teacher Dewey Finn, original director Richard...

Jack Black Will Play R.L. Stine in 'Goosebumps' Movie

There’s a special place in the heart of fright loving 90’s kids reserved for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps novels. Anyone who even slightly delved into the...

'Sex Tape': Cameron Diaz And Jason Segel Spice Up Their Love Lives In The Digital Age [Trailer + Pictures]

The red band trailer has been released for the hilarious new comedy, Sex Tape, which stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as two characters who,...

Advertisement

Sex Tape Trailer

Jay and Annie once had a thriving sexual relationship, but now they've been together for ten years and have two children, things are going a...

Who Could Play Rob Ford?

With news that the rights to a movie based on the life of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been sold, the question is who’s going...

Zach Braff's NYC Photobomb Is Pure Internet Gold! [Image]

Zach Braff may have won the award for the finest celebrity photobombing incident of all time, after an image of him cheekily smiling into the...

School of Rock Reunion Sees Jack Black Thrashing The Axe

School of Rock's cast have reunited after ten years apart. The cast of the musical comedy appeared at a celebratory event in honour of the...

Advertisement