Starring: Jack Black, Ian McShane, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Gary Oldman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Haysbert
Directed by: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Written by: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min
Not letting your past define you sets up the core message fueling Kung Fu Panda 2. As Po and his Furious Five buddies try to stop the evil Master Chen (Gary Oldman) from conquering China. A lively follow-up to the original from 2008, but lacking that new story smell.
By now we’re fully cognizant of Po’s geeky obsession with of Kung Fu, and his fan boy love of his compadre’s in the Furious Five. His usual western comedic sensibilities once again in full force, as he bumbles and stumbles through an adventure involving yet another jaded youth returning for revenge and glory. Though this time around, the villain is a lot more interesting in the form of a nicely rendered armored Peacock, voiced by the always reliable Gary Oldman.
So, yes, a lot of the themes in the original are simply repeated in the sequel. But as repeats go, this is pretty decent. The second installment ups the ante in the action department, and still delivers plenty of laughs with its tried and true blend of slap stick and nice dialog. This movie is always looking to squeeze in the jokes, and thankfully most of them are successfully delivered.
If you enjoyed the first Panda flick, you’ll enjoy the second one. You also don’t strictly need to see the first film to follow the sequel.
This is a great looking film, and would look superb on a theater sized screen. At home a HD screening is a must. This film will lose some of its impact if viewed on a laptop, tablet or phone.
I really enjoyed the scene where Po is trying to get Masters Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Ox (Dennis Haysbert) out of their cell to join the fight.