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Kung Fu Panda 2

A 2011 movie directed by Jennifer Yuh.

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Ska-toooshhh!! The Return of The Awwwessoommmeee!!

  • May 28, 2011
Rating:
+4
I have to admit that I was one of those who were pleasantly surprise how “Kung Fu Panda” in 2008 may have surpassed Dreamworks’ much praised animated movie “Shrek”. It was just a piece of creative wonder that combined Chinese martial arts sensibilities, action, quirky comedy and a well-rounded story with Jack Black’s fast-talking humor and eccentricity, enveloped in a good-natured manner. While I was prepared for the worst, (animated movie sequels usually never hit the spot save for a select few), I am happy to report that “Kung Fu Panda 2“ matches the original in every way imaginable. It answers the questions that were set in the first film as we get to know Po a little more. It wasn’t just me who wondered how could a noodle-cooking goose have fathered a panda, right?

Po (Jack Black, School of Rock) is now living his dream as a part of the Furious Five as the dragon warrior. He protects the valley with Tigress (Angelina Jolie, Wanted), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen, The Green Hornet), and Crane (David Cross) under the guidance of master Shi-Fu (Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate). However, a threat from the past seemed to have resurfaced to threaten the peace and tranquility in China; a peacock lord called Shen (Gary Oldman, Book of Eli) has returned to wreak havoc through his mastery of the devastating power of gunpowder and fireworks. Po and his friends are called upon to stop him, but his rise has caused Po to doubt his role and just how has he been fathered by Mr. Ping (James Hong)? Po needs to discover the secrets of his past and to stop the fiery wrath of Shen’s forces….

                 Crane voiced by David Cross, Tigress voiced by Angelina Jolie, Po voiced by Jack Black, Mantis voiced by Seth Rogen, Monkey voiced by Jackie Chan and Viper voiced by Lucy Liu in "Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom."

                Lord Shen voiced by Gary Oldman in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

               Monkey voiced by Jackie Chan, Po voiced by Jack Black and Tigress voiced by Angelina Jolie in "Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom."

The original film went to the rise of our ever-lovin’, kung-fu fightin’ panda to the status of ‘dragon warrior’, and this sequel now presents a much darker, more complex narrative that challenges the psychology of Po. The film maintains the cartoonish and mischievous atmosphere with the usual theme of destiny and prophecies (this time foretold by a soothsayer voiced by Michelle Yeoh); but what makes this different is the manner that it focuses on the realities of life, as it takes on overtones of dishonor, failure, retribution and sacrifice. The viewer is taken to the dark areas of Po’s past and how he came into being. It was a shock how the sequel became so bold in the execution of its premise; I mean, I commend director Jennifer Yu Nelson and writers Jonathan Aibels and Glenn Berger for taking this route. It creates a balance that expresses the idea that life is no fun and games, and that something so bright can come from a dark past. This dark past shapes an individual, and it is up to the individual as to how he can overcome such a past.

                    Po voiced by Jack Black in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

                   Po voiced by Jack Black and Mr. Ping voiced by James Hong in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

The film goes into the origins of Po as he tries to discover his roots; this naturally upsets Mr. Ping which shows the tension between a father and his son. This element allows Po to grow and to have a breathing space amid all the revelations the viewer is in for. The screenplay also develops the interplay between Po, Shi-Fu and his companions. You get to see the developing friendship between Tigress and Po; as she seemed to have become fonder of our black and white kung fu artist. I know what you are thinking, Dreamworks usually steer clear from dispensing the evil details of the villain‘s deeds; but this is not the case with “Kung Fu Panda 2”. The direction masterfully renders Shen as the grand baddie in Po’s life and existence. Oldman’s performance gives his character an aura of villainy and wickedness; his evil deeds were never subtle which makes it so much easier for the viewer to hate him. Black provides most of the humor with his dopey yet fitting antics. He portrays the hero as a confused individual who tries his best to hold on to his identity.

                    Tigress voiced by Angelina Jolie and Po voiced by Jack Black in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

                   Po voiced by Jack Black in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

                 Po voiced by Jack Black and Shifu voiced by Dustin Hoffman in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

The humor in the film is rather (not sure how to say it) a bit creaky and shaky, but it substitutes the humorous energy with dramatic touches that define our hero. Don’t get me wrong, the film has several moments of credible comedy, but it never felt over-the-top, intentional or forced. There is a lot of effective physical comedy as with the original, as we see Po using his bulk and mass to gain an advantage. The comedy is there, but it was toned down to give focus to Po’s parental confusion and search for identity. This was a wise move as I get to feel the emotions within the character.

The set designs were flawless as I thought I was watching one of those elaborate Chinese epics that have gained the favor of Western audiences. Yuh also manages to put together some great action sequences as Shi-Fu, the Furious Five and Po confront the evil of Shen. I loved the way the direction showed scenes of flight, mastery of balance and hard-hitting knocks. The fights had the right mix of intensity and slapstick humor that made it very impressive, and at the same time, adorable. Yuh also goes into the themes of how inner strength comes from within which is the staple of Asian films. As with the original, this sequel is rich with homage and references from “Five Deadly Venoms“, and then pitches in references to “Shaolin Soccer“, “Iron Monkey“ and even “Red Cliff 2“. The film looks great in 3D, the animation was just so smooth and fluid; I would go even as far as the animation is an improvement over the original’s.

                        Po voiced by Jack Black and Wolf Boss voiced by Danny McBride in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

                       Po voiced by Jack Black and Wolf Boss voiced by Danny McBride in "Kung Fu Panda 2."
         
                      Tigress voiced by Angelina Jolie in "Kung Fu Panda 2."

“Kung Fu Panda 2” has enough depth and maturity to entertain the adult while having enough moral messages that can prove invaluable to kids. True, many may say that the film is a lot darker than one can expect, but remember, even children cannot be hidden from the truth forever. The film is a summation of purpose, identity and growth; how we are not defined by our birth but how we make our choices. It is not who you are but rather what you do that defines you. The past can scar, and it can only disappear by moving forward. “Kung Fu Panda 2” also has a heart-warming climax that brings this story closure as well as a set up to a second sequel. I am in for another "panda-monium" installment of “Ska-Toosh 3”, there is just so much more to be delved into with our characters.

Highly Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Kung Fu Panda 2 3D."  Poster art for "Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom."




 
 
 
 
 
Skadoooshhh!! The Return of Awwwessoommmeee Panda-Monium!! Skadoooshhh!! The Return of Awwwessoommmeee Panda-Monium!! Skadoooshhh!! The Return of Awwwessoommmeee Panda-Monium!!

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June 08, 2011
Sounds like a fun film. I have yet to see the first one. I'm liking this and +1ing it for you friend! Great job as always!
 
June 04, 2011
Awesome review! I was pleasantly surprised by the first one myself. I grabbed it for a quick laugh, and got one of the best animated movies outside of Pixar this last decade. I'm really looking forward to this, especially with Gary Oldman - he's one of the great villain actors of all time!
June 04, 2011
Thanks for the read. If you loved the first movie then you will like this one. I have to say that the original was a little more energetic in the humor side but this was a bold change in tone and it felt that it gave the Po character more depth as we get to know his origins. Oldman is just great!
June 04, 2011
His origins just bugged the hell out of me after seeing the first one. It just boggled the mind!
 
June 03, 2011
Def wanna check this one out! Thanks Woo :)
June 03, 2011
Thanks for the read, DJ.
 
May 29, 2011
Isn't Van Damme in this voicing some one? Great review.
May 29, 2011
Not to my knowledge. It did have Michelle Yeoh as the soothsayer.
June 03, 2011
Yep, he does the voice of "Master Croc" LOL
June 03, 2011
oh yeh.....thanks, Sam...the guy in jail right?
 
May 29, 2011
Still need to see the first one. Skidoosh!
May 29, 2011
You will need to see the first one before you see the sequel, since it provides the needed groundwork for the characters.
May 29, 2011
Right-o.
May 29, 2011
after this flim, you will say AWESOME a lot. LOL!!
May 29, 2011
Maybe, maybe not.
 
May 28, 2011
Wow wee an other perfect score for the Panda! DreamWorks is on an absolute tear of late! Between the first film, How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind, and now this, sounds like Pixar better watch out. Thanks for an awesome critique, like our pal Blue here, I'm definitely considering this one and was really interested to hear whether or not it held up to the first one. Go DreamWorks! Thanks again bro.
May 28, 2011
Loved the first one as it focused on the spirit of kung fu and Po's rise; this one is more on how he becomes himself. Dreamworks is on a roll!! By the way, I decided to round down the 4.5 since I did say that the humor was creaky and a little uneven.
 
1
More Kung Fu Panda 2 reviews
review by . June 28, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Was I the only one a little disturbed by the scene in the first Kung Fu Panda where Po's father told us the lineage of his noodle stand? You know, where he said he got it from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father, who were all geese? And in the fourth picture, the animal was finally changed, but it turned out the stand was won in a game of chance? And we wondered just how Po got to be a Panda? Well, Kung Fu Panda 2 gives the answer to that question.     I …
review by . June 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     When all is said and done, I suppose that I must applaud "Kung Fu Panda 2" for being a better sequel than it really needs to be. Many sequels both animated and not release each year; most of them failing to deliver. "Kung Fu Panda 2" may not be great, but as animated entertainment, it serves its purpose rather superbly. It's definitely a recommendation for those who appreciate animated films, and those who enjoyed the first film will probably find plenty to …
review by . June 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
When an animated movie hits the right note for me, it really knocks it out of the park. I’ve sat through my fair share of awful animated movies, and when one screws up the formula, it’s really hard to sit through. You can see the resolution coming a mile away, and the jokes that fail to hit the golden balance between kids and adults makes you want to jump out of a window. Thankfully, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a classic benchmark for efficiently mixing humor, action, and a hybrid sort of story …
review by . May 29, 2011
Kung Fu Panda 2 is the much anticipated sequel to the 2008 hit movie. This movie has two plots. The first plot involves an evil peacock named Shen. He threatens to destroy kung fu with a cannon. It is up to Po and Furious Five to save kung fu and stop Shen's evil ways. it is established in the first movie that Po's father is a goose named Ping. A goose can't be the father of a panda. This movie explores Po's roots further and answers the question of what really happened to Po's …
review by . July 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
A Worthy Continuation of the Original
   In my opinion DreamWorks has always played second fiddle to Pixar in the computer generated feature film genre.  Their rivalry has existed for nearly as long as there has been a computer generated feature film genre! Pixar had Toy Story, DreamWorks had Small Soldiers. Pixar had A Bug’s Life, DreamWorks Antz. Pixar Monsters Inc., DreamWorks Monsters Vs. Aliens.  Pixar with Cars and DreamWorks with Trucks.  No wait, I made that last one up.  But you get the …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Po returns to battle evil with his improved kung-fu skills and this time he will be rocking out in another dimension of awesomeness. Dreamworks, never one to let a franchise die until the last drop of profit and respect is drained out of the series, plans to make this a six-part series. While an action movie can usually extend itself as long as it has a credible threat from a powerful villain, one can't help but think how many times you could hear Jack Black as a panda. Well on the plus side, …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Kung Fu Panda 2 is a deeply involving 3D animated film, although (and this should come as no surprise to you) it has little to do with the 3D, a consistently disappointing process if ever there was one. Firstly, like its 2008 predecessor, it’s simply a lot of fun. There’s sheer exuberance to the characters, the vocal performances, and the animation – the latter especially, since there are plenty of gravity-defying martial arts …
review by . June 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   PG - 90mins - Animation/Action/Adventure - 10th June 2011    Po (Jack Black) returns in another kung fu animation adventure which sees our ever hungry panda face up to a new and devastating threat in the form of angry albino peacock (Gary Oldman) Lord Shen. Having been cast out by his parents years before for his atrocities, Shen has been biding his time returning with a new technology that threatens to enable him to conquer China.      Po is joined once …
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Kung Fu Panda 2 is a American 3D 2011 computer-animated action comedy film and the sequel to the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda. The cast of the original film reprised their voice roles. The film was released on May 26, 2011 in Real D 3D and Digital 3D.
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Details

Director: Jennifer Yuh
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Release Date: 26 May 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Glenn Berger, Jonathan Aibel
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