'Kung-Fu Panda 2': 2 Much Action, 2 Little Plot

Kevin Thomas's picture

There is a famous actor by the name of Jackie Chan. He has made numerous films, some really good (“The Karate Kid” remake) and some really bad (“Rush Hour 3”). The reason some of his movies are bad is their overreliance on action sequences. They have a bare minimum amount of plot, but hey, who needs that when you can see Jackie punch a guy in the face with his foot? DreamWorks’ latest film, “Kung-Fu Panda 2,” is like a bad Jackie Chan film with cute animals as characters.

It begins with Po (Jack Black, “Gulliver’s Travels”) and the Furious Five, Tigris (Angelina Jolie, “The Tourist”), Monkey (Jackie Chan, “The Karate Kid” remake,) Viper (Lucy Liu, “Charlie’s Angels” films,) Mantis (Seth Rogen, “The Green Hornet”,) and Crane (David Cross, “Alvin and the Chipmunks” films) going to save the village below the mountain they inhabit from the metal stealing peacock Shen (Gary Oldman, “The Dark Knight”). All goes well until Po has a flashback of his parents being attacked by an unseen evil while fighting Shen. The peacock gets away, of course, and Po goes to see his “father”, noodle-selling goose Mr. Ping (James Hong) in order to get some information about his parents, but to no avail.

Shen apparently needed the metal to build a machine that stops kung-fu (Uh oh, looks like Po will have to give up his Dragon Warrior status and go back to selling noodles). After he captures two kung-fu masters, Po and the Five go to rescue them, with Po’s extra intention being to discover what this evil peacock knows about his past. And just to give Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffmann) something to do in the film, he tells Po he must “find his inner peace”

I understand that sequels never stand up to the originals, but come on. I went to this film only because Roger Ebert and some other critics gave it some good reviews. I also expected this film to be better because of DreamWorks previous good sequels to “Madagascar” and “Shrek”. This was not. The action sequences are far too abundant in this movie; they are in five or less minute increments of each other. Plus, Po’s never-ending, “I’m such a big tough panda” dialogue is so annoying. I can say two goods things about “Kung-Fu Panda 2”, the action sequences are far better animated then the ones in the much better plotted original from 2008 and it was pleasantly funny. Unfortunately for me, they have made it totally impossible for a “Kung-Fu Panda 3” not to exist in the near future. Small children will adore this film though.

Rated PG for Sequences of Martial Arts Action and Mild Violence (throughout, in my opinion).