Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Jennifer Yoh Nelson

Stars: voices of Jack Black, Gary Oldman, Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Haysbert, Danny McBride .

This sequel to Kung Fu Panda is more awesome, and bigger than its predecessor.

The story from Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (writers of the original Kung Fu Panda) is stronger here, and takes the characters in new directions. Lord Shen (voiced by Gary Oldman) is a dangerous peacock with grand designs on controlling all China with his new terrifying weapons. However, a soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) has predicted that a black and white warrior will defeat him and his scheme. Po (again voiced by Jack Black) and his allies – Jackie Chan’s Monkey, Angelina Jolie’s feisty Tigress, Seth Rogen’s Mantis, Lucy Liu’s Viper and David Cross’s Crane – set out to defeat him. Po also has to confront his past and his origins, and ultimately find inner peace.

Making her feature film directorial debut here is Jennifer Yoh Nelson, a former animator who has worked on films such as Dark City, and tv series like Spawn. There is plenty of action here, although some of it may prove a little bit too violent and frightening for younger audiences. The choreography of the action sequences has been influenced by martial arts movies. The animation is superb, with the background locations and settings given a sense of grandeur. The 3D process is also used well, even if it adds little to the movie itself.

Po is suffused with Black’s screen persona, but thankfully he has toned own his usual excesses and overbearing comic style here. Nelson has assembled a superb vocal cast that includes Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Haysbert and Danny McBride in smaller roles.

And the film cleverly leads the way open for yet another sequel.




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