Plot Hero panda Dragon Warrior Po (Black) begins a new phase of training — finding inner peace — with Master Shifu (Hoffman). But when psychotic albino peacock Lord Shen (Oldman) threatens to conquer China and destroy kung fu, Po and pals must leave the Valley Of Peace and sock it to the chops.
2008’s Kung Fu Panda was cute and funny and had some great animated action, but didn’t seem an instant classic. Nevertheless, it entertained audiences to the tune of $600 million-plus and became significant enough in popular culture for a cuddly but fierce American baseball star, Pablo Sandoval, to be known thereafter as Kung Fu Panda and for the Atlanta Zoo to name its new baby panda Po.
DreamWorks’ sequel has been lavished with everything it takes to make it bigger and arguably better, and it does not disappoint in the awesomeness. Furiously flying fists, feet and wings are just one aspect of a fine, fun tale of destiny, beautifully directed by Panda head of story Jennifer Yuh Nelson, written by Panda screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, with a standout score by Hans Zimmer and Brit John Powell.
Now that Po and the Furious Five (Angelina Jolie’s tough Tigress, Jackie Chan’s Monkey, Seth Rogen’s Mantis, Lucy Liu’s Viper and David Cross’ Crane) are buddies in sync, there’s a bit of badinage about the temple dojo but little time is wasted on auld lang syne.
Villainous Lord Shen is introduced (in an exquisite Ancient Chinese-ey fable) as a bonkers noble who misused the gift of fireworks to make a terrible weapon, was banished, but has returned to make all China bow at his feet. Luckily it has been foretold that a black-and-white warrior can defeat him! Gary Oldman is fabulous as the feathered fiend and his character animators do his performance proud with a stunning, balletic fighting style, the fan tail flicking with lethal fascination.
The pantheon of new characters includes Danny McBride’s one-eyed leader of Shen’s wolf army, a trio of legendary kung fu masters in Victor Garber’s Thundering Rhino, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Croc and Dennis Haysbert’s Storming Ox, with marvellous Michelle Yeoh as a soothsayer sheep. The excellence of the voice cast is matched with absolutely breathtaking, epic landscapes and gorgeous sets in an eclectic, computer-generated mix of animation styles and techniques. Sensational sequences abound, from a runaway rickshaw chase to a black, white and red hand-painted-looking ‘flashback’, hyperrealistic water scenes and 3D’ed-to-the-max aerial views of the Battle Of Gongmen City, the solitary silhouette of Po poised (as iconically as Dirty Harry on the bridge) on a pagoda rooftop above Shen’s dragonship.
The journey and the saving of the day are interwoven pleasingly with Po’s inner journey of self-discovery. Every superhero rates an origin story and Po’s emerges now that he has finally got around to asking what every five-year-old piped up in the first adventure: why is the panda’s dad a goose? (Why the panda’s dad is a goose who wears clothes and makes noodles we just roll with.) Po has disturbing visions of his infancy, when pressed his adoptive father Mr. Ping (James Hong) has a touching tale to tell of discovering the adorable baby panda, and the sage soothsayer makes revelations that — mark our words — pave the way for KFP3.
Verdict A richer plot, life lessons and loving Chinese cultural references rendered by turns sweet, scary and charming, with yet more fantastical kung fu, make this an engaging winner. Stunning visuals make it real art as well.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is a fantastic film. It has a great story, the humour in this film is hilarious, the characters are very well done and the visual are great. Adults and children will enjoy this film. I would recommend to go see this film. ... More
Really liked it - almost TOO many action/fight scenes, but it's really enjoyable. The plot surrounding Po's birth and how he came to be with his Dad; and his path for inner peace was decent enough for a sequel - far better than a lot of what's trotted out for some cash-ins.
7/10 ... More
Long ago in China, Lord Shen, heir of the peacock clan that ruled Gongmen City, sought to harness the power of fireworks as a weapon with which to rule the entire country. When he learned from the court’s goat soothsayer that “a warrior of black and white” would one day defeat him, Shen assumed she was referring to the giant pandas and had them exterminated to avert the prophecy. Shen’s parents were horrified at this atrocity and exiled Shen, who swore revenge. Thirty years later, ... More
An extra kung-fu kick to the original!
Though the first one is better, this also cleverly uses Po's father, the Goose as an explanation to the first installment. I think this is 2011's best 3-D movie...the effects gave me a relief to Depp's 3D- POTC:4 ! ... More
Animation is actually 4 star but this film is a crime against vocal talent. Why on earth would you cast Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, and Van Damme if you're not going to give them anything to say? Some of the new characters and members of the Furious Five barely have any lines. This is the Panda show once again but it could have been more. Much more. ... More
that's about it. The story is OK, but the comedy element just isn't there, which is a shame. I watched 'How to train your Dragon' again recently and it reminded me just how good that was, and how much this one missed the mark. Three stars, mainly for the way the film looks. ... More
L: MI Cruise
I would have called this a cash-in movie but its not like they had a short deadline, 2 years is a long time, it seems like someone thought of the story in 2 days. And as people have mentioned Jackie Chan and Lucy Lui were wasted like last time I believe, it's just a way of getting bums on seats I guess.
n animated movie takes alot longer than a live action movie to make so I would say they didn`t have that long even if it was three years not two as the last one w... More
I see the thread I started for this film has been ignored, anyway I'll post my review here. Don;t agree with Empire's review though far too generous.
I liked the first Kung Fu Panda back in 2008, I thought that it was a funny film and the supporting cast were good as well. So even though I wasnt following the production of the sequel I was still expecting good things from this one, seeing as they've had more than 2 years since the original.
What you end up getting is a poor film that a... More
I really enjoyed it! Took my daughter to the flicks for the first time (I'll gloss over the fact that it cost £25 for 2D....) and it was great. Not really humorous as others have mentioned but the action was mainly awesome, sometimes let down with an attempt at a gag though.
7/10. ... More
If you liked or loved the first Kung Fu Panda this is also well worth seeing but I personally didn`t find it as funny as the last one. It`s as gorgeous to look at as ever if not more so in 3D (although the picture seemned a bit fuzzy but that may have been the screen not the movie!) with alot more spectacular action. Great cast and better all around except the humour isn`t there as much as before so I can only give it 4/5 but thats still pretty good! ... More
Saw a preview of this over the weekend, thought it was unexpectedly awesome. It was nice to see a summer sequel building on the story and characters of the original, rather than lazily rehashing them. The animation was also frequently hilarious. ... More
It's a whole lot more of the same.
Great action sequences, which put a lot of live action movies to shame.
Fantastic animation, personally I found it a lot more stunning than Pixar's recent output.
And it hurts to say, but the 3D was very good too! This might be the third movie I've seen in 3D, since it became the 'in' thing, that actually added something to the viewing. Great use of depth, and well implemented 'pointy out from the screen' parts too. Sadly I didn't go to my usual cinema, ... More
I agree completely with the reviewer. The Action in this was amazing and great voice acting from Black, Oldman, Hoffman and James Hong as Po's dad.
The only thing I disagree with is the great voice acting all round, to me Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, brought nothing to their characters, the only reason they're in the cast is because they're famous. You'd be able to get a proper voice actor who could have made the characters unique or stand out for 1/5th of what those stars got paid. ... More