Kung-Fu Panda 2

Back in the early 1970’s Carl Douglas told everyone to ‘keep on kung-fu fighting’.  People of all ages did just that as his tune and the films of Bruce Lee gained prominence.  Even children were into it and those young ones from long ago will probably be taking their own offspring to see this second outing of kung-fu heroics.  Not that the title character could be considered as courageous as those fist fighting heroes although his cartoonish charms should weave a spell on budding new martial artists.


Having conquered the art of kung fu, Po the overweight panda has new lessons to learn.  With the help of his guru Shifu, he learns of his missing parents’ fate at the hands of the wicked peacock Shen.  Wanting to rule China by nefarious means, Shen’s bitterness of past actions has a direct impact on Po’s future.  With the help of Tigress, Monkey, Viper and Crane, Po sets out to bring down Shen and be the best martial artist the country has seen.


Kung Fu Panda 2 is a lot of fun and adds to Dream Works Studio’s growing catalogue of animated hits.  With a budget rumoured to be a whopping $150 million it looks amazing and a lot was riding on it being the success it is.  From the dazzling and creative action sequences to the immaculate animation, it’s obvious the Chinese setting has given the creators carte blanche in crafting spell-binding visions.  Chinese architecture is already wondrous to view and the lush surrounds coupled with technicoloured hijinks add to an overall sense of enjoyment.


Like most animation it can be enjoyed on many levels.  Its messages of forgoing past regret and reaching your potential are expertly interwoven amongst the nicely timed humour.  Whilst some sentimental moments creep in, there aren’t enough to slow proceedings down in mawkishness.  It’s generally a light and frothy confection with a voice cast including Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie having a grand time bringing life to the charming characters.


Although there are some pretty awful animated films out there, Kung Fu Panda 2 isn’t one of them.  Funny, clever and making an effort in conjuring an engaging story with some depth, it may inspire a new generation to take up the mantle Carl Douglas once enthusiastically sang about.


Rating out of 10:  7

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