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May 31, 2011 > Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

By Steve Worley

In Kung Fu Panda 2, Po is now living his dream as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow Kung Fu masters, The Furious Five. But Po's new life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy Kung Fu. Po must look to his past and uncover the secrets of his mysterious origins; only then will he be able to unlock the strength he needs to succeed.

Kung Fu Panda 2 has a lot of fast action and impressive battle scenes, just like in the first movie, only this time it's in 3D! The 3D effects of Kung Fu Panda 2 are marvelous to behold, as various objects seemingly leap out of the screen at you. The 3D effects alone make it worth the admission price to see it in the theater.

Kung Fu Panda 2 features an all-star cast set in legendary China as in the first film. The Po character is the kind of stand-by jokey character that we've come to know, who manages to succeed in spite of himself. In the first Kung Fu Panda movie, Po (voiced by Jack Black) realized his dream of becoming a legendary kung-fu warrior after getting chosen to be the Dragon Warrior, protector and hero of China. In Kung Fu Panda 2, the overstuffed, ever-hungry panda bear starts out from where he finished in the first movie. In the first movie, we saw that Po knew his father as the goose Mr. Ping. No other explanation for Po's origins was provided, and he didn't go looking for one.

In the new movie, Po learns that he was abandoned by his parents as a baby. Po begins to speculate about his origins when he has flashbacks of the moment in time when his mother left him in a radish basket while fleeing from pursuers. Remembering that he reached out toward his mama as she left him, and bothered by this image, Po breaks off training with his Master Shifu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman) in order to find out more from his father Mr. Ping. Mr. Ping doesn't know much about Po's origins, other than that he had found little hungry Po in one of his radish baskets.

Lord Shen (voiced by Gary Oldman) is Po's nemesis in the new film. Lord Shen had been rejected by his royal parents as a young peacock. Thus, there is a parallel between Shen and Po. Michelle Yeoh voices the character of the Narrator/Soothsaying Goat. Little does Lord Shen or Po know, but they are connected by the soothsayer's mysterious prediction: that a panda bear would one day defeat Shen. Shen tried to kill off all the pandas, and so we find out that Po's parents abandoned him in order to save him.

Po and his fellow warriors the Furious Five - Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Monkey (Jackie Chan), and Viper (Lucy Liu), set off to get answers from the Lord Shen, as Shen is building an army of wolves led by Wolf Boss (Danny McBride) and plotting to take over the world with new cannon weapons of mass destruction intended to destroy kung fu. In between several battles won and lost with Shen, Po and the Furious Five encounter kung fu warriors Master Storming Ox (Dennis Haysbert) and Master Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) in Shen's jail. The jailed warriors refuse to fight on, having been defeated and disillusioned by Shen's army. And so it is up to Po and the Furious Five to carry on the war. Can they defeat the overwhelmingly stronger army of Lord Shen and save the world against all odds?

Rated: PG
Runtime: 90 mins

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