MOVIE REVIEW: New problems for Po in ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’

Another reviewer used the word “sturdy” to describe “Kung Fu Panda 2,” and I can’t think of a better word.
As the name implies, this movie is a sequel to 2008’s animated hit, “Kung Fu Panda.”
We’re reunited with Po the Panda (Jack Black), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and other characters from the original.
This time out, Master Shifu tells Po that he needs to master inner peace. Po doesn’t think this will be difficult: He’s the dragon warrior, after all.
But during a battle with what appear to be common criminals, long-repressed memories are stirred. Suddenly, Po the Panda is wondering why he was raised by a goose (James Hong). What really happened to Po’s parents?
In addition, Po and the Furious Five have to defeat Shen (Gary Oldman), a peacock who wants to use his command of gunpowder to conquer all of China.
Shen also might know how to shed light on Po’s past. Our hero begins to understand that inner peace isn’t such an easy thing to come by.
It’s a solid story with a lot of action and some genuinely funny scenes, though nothing comes close to the dumpling battle between Po and Shifu in the first installment. The memory of that dumpling scene makes me smile as I write this paragraph.
“Panda 2” isn’t as fresh as the first, but it travels new territory. Oldman’s Shen is sinister and deadly, and you’ll be pulling against him as soon as you see him strut on screen.
The film also carries a simple message about how the past affects the present. If more of us put that message into practice, inner peace would be a far more common thing.
“Panda 2” doesn’t equal the first film, but it’s a worthy follow-up. Or, if you prefer, a sturdy follow-up.
I give “Kung Fu Panda 2” a B.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Wizard reviews
Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “Kung Fu Panda 2” a B.
“It’s not worth the extra money for 3-D in my opinion, but it’s a good movie.”

“Roadkill” Bill, also with Wizard, gives it a B minus.
“It’s beautifully animated and a lot of fun.”

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

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