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Monday, June 13, 2011

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda 2     $$$$
90 Minutes
Starring: Jack Black, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie
Director: Jennifer Yuh

            Po returns as “The Dragon Warrior.” You may be wondering if this is the bumbling, star-struck, noodle boy Po or the awesome, kung-fu master Po. And the answer is: Yes.
            The two contradictory natures are combined in a way that’s fun and essential for this story. Instead of being unbelievable the action sequences where Po and the Furious Five battle together demonstrate how each of us must rely on others in order to obtain greatness. One moment Po is trashing bandits, and then he’s being saved from a fall by an ally, only to turn the mishap around into another brilliant attack against the enemy horde. Working together they’re unstoppable.
            The second lesson that comes out of Po’s dual nature is the understanding that nobody’s perfect. Even as flawed as each of us are we can still succeed in life’s marvelous quests.  When the Furious Five work around Po’s fumbled steps and brash decisions they are able to negate his weaknesses and then everyone benefits from his strengths; just as the rest of us can do with our families, friends, and neighbors.
            You don’t have to resort to this level of reflection to enjoy the movie. A good part of the appeal is that Po doesn’t know he’s great. Jack Black does a good job of giving us a character that is living his dream and hopes he doesn’t wake up.
            As to the plot; Po and the Furious Five must face Lord Shen (a peacock) who plots to control all of China and wants to put an end to kung fu. They must find a way to stop and unstoppable weapon. The key to all of this lies in Po’s past and his mastering the martial-art discipline of Inner Peace.

            I gave Kung Fu Panda 2 a rating of a 4. At 90 minutes it doesn’t have time to get bogged down. Jack Black is funny, the action is entertaining, and the story is interesting. DreamWorks can chalk up another victory with this offering.  

            Randy’s Rating System

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.

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