Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) Jack Black, Bryan Cranston

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Squadoosh — Jack Black’s voice acting almost single-handedly carries this nothing-new, family-friendly martial art comedy sequel

A while after the events in the previous film (2011), Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) decides to retire and passes his torch to the titular hero “Dragon Warrior” Po (Jack Black) as the teacher to the Furious Five members — Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Monkey (Jackie Chan) — who have little respect for his teaching. Po reunites with his long-lost biological father, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston), who reveals that there’s a hidden village full of pandas but that happiness doesn’t last as a new enemy named Kai (J.K. Simmons) arrives to steal all masters’ “chi” and Po is the only one left to stop him.

Let’s face it — it’s no Inside Out or Zootopia — it’s not groundbreaking with great moral values, etc. With the same director Jennifer Yuh Nelson (co-directing with story artist Alessandro Carloni this time) and writers Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger (The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Alvin and the Chipmunks sequels), it’s basically pretty much the same plot about an old villain who comes out of no where and Po somehow is the only one who can learn how to stop him because he is how he is, a panda with “unpredictable” qualities such as being fat, lazy and embarrassing that’ll catch a lot of experts off-guard. The only continuation that’s necessary for a sequel is to finally reveal Po’s actual father, which may be what the fans would probably love to see.

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For non-fans like myself who didn’t really like the franchise ’cause it felt like I was only rewatching all of the classic kung fu flicks again but with animals speaking in English instead, it boils down to whether or not it offers enough fun and laughter, and the answer is: yes, just enough to not suck again. Jack Black is basically being very Jack Black again and nothing more but it’s the comical quality that he never fails to commit which makes the humour works so well here with its comedic timing. However, all of the other big names on the cast are sidelined with very minimal dialogues as usual, but we get to hear a lot from the new characters voiced by Bryan Cranston and J.K. Simmons, who did the job well.

Kung Fu Panda 3 has more than a couple of hilarious moments and it’s self-aware enough that it’d make fun of itself as soon as a cheesy line is delivered. Along with some action and cute bunch of pandas in non-spectacular but decent CGI visuals, it makes this family-friendly animated film quite an entertaining watch, even if completely forgettable. I can imagine it being even funnier in Cantonese.

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What I would’ve named the film: “Kung Fu Pandas”

Malaysia censorship: It’s a safe family cartoon. Don’t worry about Jack Black.

To watch in 3D? There’s IMAX 2D format being released here so I guess that means even they didn’t think it’s necessary to have it in 3D? Anyhow, I wouldn’t say it’d bring anything extra to your viewing experience.

Second opinion: My friend Joel felt that it’s okay too; quite funny.

Verdict: Pretty much the same shit but funnier than the previous one.

Rating: 3 / 5

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Country / Languages: United States, China / English (or) Cantonese

Genre: Action comedy animation
Running Time: 95 minutes
Director: Jennifer Yuh, Alessandro Carloni
Screenwriters: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Cast: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, J.K, Simmons, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross, James Hong, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen

Malaysia Release Date: 10 March 2016
Rated: U
Local Distributor: 20th Century Fox Malaysia
Production: DreamWorks Animation, Oriental DreamWorks, China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group

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