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Kung Fu Panda 2


Stars: Voices: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, James Hong, Gary Oldman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michelle Yeoh, Dennis Haysbert, Danny McBride, Victor Garber

Director: Jennifer Yuh

It’s a match made in celluloid heaven. Exuberant roly-poly Black supplies the voice of the exuberant roly-poly back and white martial arts hero who makes his triumphant return as the Chosen Dragon Warrior Po in 3D to stop a villainous peacock and his foul forces from conquering all of ancient China.

The section of the storyline serves splendidly as a vehicle for an extravaganza of gravity-defying action, blazing battles and athletic comedy perpetrated by Po and his cohorts The Furious Five - Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane whose heroism finally eradicates the peacock and his gunpowder-powered cannons. When it comes to action and comedy, the film delivers. Family film experts George (9) and Felix (6) agree: each awarded the movie 9/10.

The story’s second strand – Po’s search for the secret of his mysterious origins (how can Po really relate to the apparent fact that his father is a goose?) – is less well-developed but certainly serves its main purpose which is to set up a sequel which is duly signalled.

The strong voice cast adds to the fun, including Jolie as The Tigress, Hoffman as Po’s midget mentor, Chan as Monkey, Rogen speaking for Mantis and Oldman, whose elegant English-accented Peacock carries on the Hollywood tradition of casting British actors as (less expensive?) villains.

The animation is excellent and the 3D works well enough for director Yuh.

(The headline in the Daily Mail speaks of ‘Pandamonium’: since this comes from the tickets for the Sunday preview of Kung Fu Panda 2, we’ll settle for ‘panda-emics’ in honour of the promised threequel!).

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Jun 2011