Film Review: More or Less Same Formula in ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’

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CHICAGO – Good and evil, chase and fight. Those are the two basic formulas that dominate “Kung Fu Panda 2,” the sequel to the very popular first film. That redundancy is helped by the spirituality of an animated panda and some spectacular 3D rendering. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

That optional 3-D is put to good use in this go around, creating a depth and energy in the stunningly complex landscape, that becomes a character in a way. All the voice talent from the first film – including Jack Black and Angelina Jolie – are back to lend persona to the lovable heroes, but in the sequel they serve more as background to the repetitive chase and fight sequences.

Po (Jack Black) is the cushy Kung Fu Panda, having earned his Dragon Master credibility in the first film. With him are his team, the “Furious Five” – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross), mentored of course by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), who has just achieved inner peace. When the gang goes after a rogue peacock named Lord Shen (Gary Oldman), it begins a serious fight for justice and allows for the Kung Fu Panda’s personal journey.

Shen has perfected a new way to defeat Kung Fu…using the storm of fireworks as a weapon. When the team learns that Shen has taken some masters prisoner and captured their village, they go on the quest to free them and save all of China. Shen is obsessed also with a prophecy that predicts his demise from a black and white creature. This involved him in Po’s past when he raided a village in search of that destiny. This “memory” is part of the hypnosis that causes Po to be initially defeated in the Shen battles.

The challenge is both physical and mental for Po, as he needs to recollect a certain path in his background to stand toe-to-toe with the evil peacock. Black and white, opposite ends of the Yin and Yang collide in an epic encounter, that tests both the Kung Fu moves and the inner grooves of life’s experiences.

”Kung Fu Panda 2” opens everywhere May 26th. See local listings for 3D showings. Featuring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Lucy Liu. Screenplay by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Burger, directed by Jennifer Yuh. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Kung Fu Panda 2”

Monkey (voice of Jackie Chan), Po (Jack Black) and Tigress (Angelina Jolie in ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’
Wild Ride: Monkey (voice of Jackie Chan), Po (Jack Black) and Tigress (Angelina Jolie) in ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’
Photo credit: © Dreamworks Animation

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Kung Fu Panda 2”

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