Kung Fu Panda 2

Po (Jack Black) is back and this time around he isn’t some bumbling idiot panda whose only exercise revolves around food; he’s the Dragon Warrior. Alright, so Po still is the same buffoon as he was before but he’s also a kung fu warrior and protector of the city.

That title will be put to the test because a new enemy has arose who threatens to overtake all of China with a new a powerful weapon. Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) was once banished from the kingdom for unspeakable deeds he did while his parents were in power. Since then, he has been working on a plan to extract his revenge. It’s now up to Po and the Furious Five to put an end to Shen’s evil plot and save the city once again.

Kung Fu Panda 2 expands upon Po’s backstory as we learn more about his troublesome past. Ever wonder how he became the son of a goose? What about the reason why you never really see any other pandas in the film? All these questions and more are revealed. Also, just because Po is the Dragon Warrior doesn’t mean he is a martial arts master. He still has much to learn as you will see in the film.

What I like about Kung Fu Panda 2 is that it combines just the right amount of kung fu action and comedy together. Jack Black hasn’t been all that great in his past few films but there’s something about being an animated panda that brings out the best in him. If pandas could speak, it wouldn’t surprise me if they sounded and acted like Black, as scary as that may sound. Additionally, the majority of the cast returns from the first film as well. Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, and James Hong once again lend their vocal talents to the sequel.

While the acting is alright, the visuals are even better. Surprisingly, Kung Fu Panda 2 has been the best 3D experience I’ve seen in a while. Many times the 3D is simply tacked on to earn extra money, and the film suffers as a result. Not here. There are also scenes (typically flashbacks) that revert to a more hand-drawn style. The only complaint I have about the visuals is that the fighting sequences are very rapid, and if you blink you might miss something.

At its heart, Kung Fu Panda 2 is great for kids and adults alike. At times it can get somewhat serious, especially when dealing with daddy issues, but for the most part it’s an action packed kung fu adventure. Jack Black should stick to animated films from now on as they are clearly his strong point. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if a third film was already in the works.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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