Business rating: 3/5 stars
Voice cast: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen.
What’s Good: The humour; the excellent voice acting; the well-choreographed action sequences.
What’s Bad: Nothing really; only the fact that the film is an animation film might keep certain audiences away from the theatres.
Verdict: Kung Fu Panda 2 entertains to the hilt. It will do good business in Indian metropolitan cities.
Loo break: None whatsoever.
Watch or Not? Definitely watch it for the humour; the superb action sequences; and, of course, Jack Black’s funny lines.
DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 is the sequel of the animation comedy, Kung Fu Panda. Po (voice of Jack Black), the cute and cuddly panda, is now living his dream as the Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his fellow kung fu masters, the Furious Five – Tigress (voice of Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Lu) and Monkey (Jackie Chan). Po’s kung fu master, Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), tells Po that the secret to becoming the ultimate kung fu practitioner is to achieve inner peace by coming to terms with one’s past.
A band of wolves attacks the Valley of Peace to obtain all the metal for their master, Lord Shen (Gary Oldman), a peacock. Lord Shen needs all the metal he can get as he is building a secret weapon to eliminate all the kung fu masters and take over China, in revenge for being ousted by his parents, who thought he was evil.
His parents had banished Shen from their kingdom after he had killed all the pandas in China, because the soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) had forecast that Shen would be killed at the hands of a black and white beast. But one tiny Panda, Po, survived and went on to become the Dragon Warrior. Now, Shen takes over his parents’ kingdom, using his most powerful weapon. Only Po and the Furious Five stand in between him and his conquest of China.
Po, in the meantime, also learns that it was Shen who had killed his (Po’s) real parents. What happens then? Is Po able to come to terms with his dark past and achieve inner peace? Is he able to stop the evil designs of Lord Shen? What is Shen’s secret weapon? The rest of the film answers these questions.
Kung Fu Panda 2 Review – Script Analysis
Kung Fu Panda 2 is a worthy successor to the prequel. Po’s character of an eternally hungry and stupid, yet brave kung fu fighting panda tickles one’s funny bone. Po’s special relationship with his master, Shifu, and his adopted father, Mr. Ping (James Hong), the duck, is also heartwarming, yet funny. The cleverly written screenplay (by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger) revolves around Po’s search for inner peace and his real parents, at the same time placing him in an incidental war with the evil peacock. There are also interesting cameos by three new characters, Master Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme), Master Ox (Dennis Haysbert) and Master Rhino (Victor Garber). Excellently choreographed action sequences, that keep the audiences at the edge of their seats, are aplenty. The highlight of the film, however, are the hilarious dialogues, that are sure to provoke loud laughter at regular intervals.
Moreover, the story, of an underdog-turned-hero fighting against an evil force is acceptable to all ages. Plus, the story also packs in a message. There is also a surprise sequence at the end of the film, which hints at another sequel.
The only thing that will work against ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ in India is that the Indian audience is yet not very comfortable with the animation genre. As such, except in the Indian metros, the film might not take a good start.
Kung Fu Panda 2 Review – Performances & Direction
The voice acting is phenomenal. Jack Black wows yet again as Po. Angelina Jolie is competent. Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, David Cross and Lucy Liu play their parts well. Michelle Yeoh, as the soothsayer, and James Hong, as Mr. Ping, stand out. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Danny McBride (as the wolf boss) and others support well.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s direction is commendable and belies the fact that it is her first film as a director. Hans Zimmer and John Powell’s background score is excellent and goes with the mood of the film. The animation (by DreamWorks Animation) is superb. The choreography of the kung fu sequences is also eye-appealing. The 3D only makes the action sequences seem more exciting.
Kung Fu Panda 2 Review – Verdict
On the whole, ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ is a wholesome entertainer. The film will be patronised by urban Indian audiences. Positive word of mouth should help garner more footfalls over the weekend.