Directed by Jennifer Yuh
But when Po faces off with a gang of mysterious bandits, he unexpectedly experiences a flashback from his childhood. He realizes that the bandits and an evil peacock named Lord Shen were somehow involved in him being separated from his biological parents as an infant. Unsure what his flashbacks mean, Po finds his inner peace out of balance.
As Lord Chen unleashes his plan to rule China with a new ultimate weapon, Po and the Furious Five are called upon to stop him. But Po will have to face his dark past and restore his inner peace in order to save the day.
“Kung Fu Panda 2” is rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence.
Po is still his lovable, fat self and he’s perfectly voiced by Jack Black. One of the things that make Po so much fun is how much he loves his role as a hero. He loves kung fu, he loves his friends, and he loves being the Dragon Warrior. It’s a refreshing change from the tortured hero we so often see. There’s a hilarious moment where Po and the Furious Five are flying into battle and Po takes a brief second to enjoy the moment and yell out, “I love you guys!” It’s a funny bit that perfectly captures the essence of Po. Jack Black is again supported by the excellent voice cast from the first movie. Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross, and Lucy Liu are all overshadowed by Black, but they are also all given moments to shine and generate laughs. James Hong also really stands out as Mr. Ping, Po’s adopted father. He provides some of the more touching moments of the story while still providing laughs as the silly looking goose.
The new villain for the movie is Gary Oldman as Lord Shen. On paper a villainous peacock is kind of a hard sell, but between Oldman’s voice and the brilliant character animation, Shen becomes a formidable baddie. Also look for brief appearances by Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Croc, Michelle Yeoh as The Soothsayer, Dennis Haysbert as Master Oxen, Victor Garber as Master Thundering Rhino, and Danny McBride as the wold bandit.
3D is often hit or miss in movies. Sometimes it’s almost unnoticeable while other times it really enhances the moviegoing experience. In “Kung Fu Panda 2” it really enhances the animation. As Po and the Furious Five fly through the air, they literally fly out of the screen at you. As Lord Shen points his blade at the camera, it comes out of the screen. You see every hair on Shifu’s head, every ripple on a pond, and every chain hanging in a munitions factory. The 3D really helps you appreciate the animation on another level.
I also have to mention that the fight scenes are quite spectacular. They’re a great mix of true action-adventure and cartoon violence. Tigress and Po gracefully fly through the air battling bad guys in a spectacular display of martial arts, but they also do so by bouncing the villains off of Po’s belly, throwing him around comically, and dispatching bad guys in a manner worthy of Wyle E. Coyote… or possibly even Jackie Chan. The end result is a fun sight to behold.
On a final positive note, the movie ends on a great cliffhanger that shows what we can expect in a “Kung Fu Panda 3.” You’ll want to see more once you see it. (Also note that there’s no bonus scene after the credits like there was in the first movie. Take your kids out to pee instead.)
What Didn’t Work:
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