Jack Black voices the title character, Po, who helps in his father’s noodle shop but dreams of becoming a kung fu fighter and joining the Furious Five: Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Crane (David Cross) and especially Tigress (Angelina Jolie). He wants to watch the Five compete to be the great Dragon Warrior, and is somehow dragged into the selection process himself. Now an ancient prophecy has come to pass, and Po realizes that he is the only one who can save his people from certain destruction. Everyone draws on their vast knowledge of fighting skills in order to transform a bungling panda bear into a lethal fighting machine.
On the surface, Kung Fu Panda looks like a celebration of Chinese culture and Hong Kong kung-fu films, but its core values are pure American. But its impossible to ignore its asian influence, hence, it makes the list on my site. Po is a familiar type: the lovable loser who is a daydreaming doo-fus. He is a big, bumbling fatso with a personal hygiene problem but a heart of gold. Jack Black and the rest of the cast do a great job handling the voice work.
Fight choreography, whether animated or live, requires a lot of creativity to keep tension and interest up, especially when we’ve seen a lot of fancy moves already in other films. Granted, this is a family movie and kids may not yet recognize references to past Hong Kong action movies although genre fans undoubtedly will. Kung Fu Panda guarantees you will have a good time, even if you’re the sort who normally doesn’t have a good time. Sure, this site features mostly bloody violent gorefest type action flicks, but don’t be mistaken by the general crop of films I review. I am a fan of good movies in general, and Kung Fu Panda fits the bill.
A problem I have with the film is there isn’t enough interaction from the co-stars or extras. Too much of the movie revolves exclusively around Po, Shifu and Tai Lung. The Furious Five have a lot of action scenes but little in the way of character-building moments. I am so accustomed to martial arts and martial arts movies being treated like a joke by a typically ill-informed Hollywood that the sincerity behind this animated feature caught me a little off guard. This is the best PG film I’ve seen in … well, forever, go see it!