¨ My fist hungers for justice! ¨
Po has returned to save China once again in Kung Fu Panda 2; with the same writers (Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger), but a different director (Jennifer Yuh). Many consider that the original Kung Fu Panda is DreamWorks’s best animated film to date; in my opinion their best one is How to Train Your Dragon, but Kung Fu Panda was still a great movie. I had my concerns with the sequel because I knew it was going to be hard to meet expectations. Cars 2 failed in this respect for Pixar, but Kung Fu Panda 2 worked a little better. This film isn’t nearly as good as the 2008 original, but for a sequel it works really well; it probably won`t win an Oscar (Rango seems to have it pretty much locked up this year, although I didn`t like it), but it is still very entertaining and the entire family will have a good time with this movie. The best thing about the film is the animation. Guillermo del Toro was brought in as the creative consultant for the Art Department and it really paid off because the look of the film is impressive and so are the visuals. The story is actually the weakest link, but it works mostly thanks to the characters we grew to love in the first film. There is also an interesting villain, voiced by Gary Oldman, so that was also a plus, but the story was really predictable. After the first 15 minutes you knew exactly what was going to happen at the end. Jean-Claude Van Damme also has a small role as the Master Croc, and it was fun to hear him.
Po (Jack Black) is living in the temple with the five kung fu warriors he has always idolized since he was little: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross). They seem to be training very hard as we hear Po breathing very heavily, but they are actually all staring at how many breads Po can fit into his mouth. Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) calls for Po and tries to teach him about finding inner peace. Po is more of an action kind of Panda and is waiting to show off his kung fu skills as the Dragon Warrior (title which he achieved in the first film). His opportunity comes when the Village where his father Mr. Ping (James Hong) lives is attacked by a group of wolves who are stealing all the metal from the village. The wolves are gathering metal in order to create a secret weapon that will put an end to Kung Fu. They all work for the evil White Peacock named Shen (Gary Oldman) who is threatening to conquer China with this new powerful weapon. There is something about Shen that bothers Po and reminds him of his forgotten past. Po begins to have flashbacks about his childhood and discovers that Mr. Ping is not his actual father. Along with his friends, Po begins a quest to stop Shen before it`s too late, and at the same time discover the truth about his past.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is not as fresh and fun as the first film, but it still was a lot of fun. Po is really a fun character and one can`t help but be reminded of Jack Black when watching Po trying to do his kung-fu stunts. Po is not only voiced by Jack Black, but he seems to be inspired by that character. In the same way there is a scene where we see Master Croc (voiced by Van Damme) do one of his singular moves from his action films. Jack Black is an incredibly funny actor and we find some of that comedy in Po`s animation. Gary Oldman also brought a lot of things to his new character, and he is always great at playing the villain. Kung Fu Panda 2 might not be as good as the original, but that doesn’t mean you won`t have fun with this family friendly film. My only complaint relies in the story, but the animation and visuals make up for it. Kung Fu Panda is a fun film you can enjoy with the family, but not much more than that.