Travels With JB

Travels With JB

Travel news and reviews

Kung Fu Panda 4 is the perfect example of the adage when you’re on a good thing stick to it.

Po (Jack Black) in DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 4, directed by Mike Mitchell.*

Since the first Kung Fu Panda hit the big screen 15 years ago DreamWorks Animation’s family-friendly action-comedy franchise has grossed over $1.8 billion at the global box-office.

This latest instalment, directed by Mike Mitchell,  is set to boost this even further thanks to all those ingredients that have ensured the franchise’s success to date.

An unwillingness to change things when they are going well is also the basis of Kung Fu Panda 4.

Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and Po (Jack Black).*

When we meet our hero Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black) a big-hearted, food loving, kung fu master panda, life is good.  He’s still looking after the residents of Valley of Peace and as such is a much-revered figure.

Things change when he is informed by Kung Fu master Shifu (Dustin Hofmann) that it’s time to move on to a higher role – that of the Spiritual Leader of the Valley.

Such a role comes with holding the Staff of Wisdom (which he obtained in the last instalment). It also means training a successor Dragon Warrior.

Po (Jack Black) and Zhen (Awkwafina).*

Po isn’t thrilled by either idea. He loves using his kung fu skills and doesn’t see himself as the spiritual type!

Then news comes that Tai Lung (Ian McShane), the villain Po defeated in the first movie, has returned from the Spirit Realm to take his revenge.

Po learns that his enemy isn’t actually Tai Lung, but instead is the sorceress Chameleon (Viola Davis), an evil crime lord who wants to take over the world. As her name indicates, the Chameleon has the ability to transform herself into any creature she chooses including an elephant.

The Chameleon (Viola Davis)*

To achieve world domination the Chameleon wants Po’s Staff of Wisdom as it would give her the power to re-summon all the master villains, whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm, to steal their kung fu skills.

News of the Chameleon’s plan comes from a fox thief Zen (Awkwafina) whom Po catches trying to steal valuable ancient treasures from the inner sanctum of the Valley of Peace.

Zen offers to take Po to the Chameleon’s base in the large, crime-ridden city of Juniper City.  Po jumps at the chance and the two leave the Valley of Peace for Juniper City.

The Chameleon (Viola Davis) and Tai Lung (Ian McShane).*

Concerned about the dangers their son could face, Po’s adopted father Mr Ping (James Hong) and his biological father Li (Bryan Cranston) follow not far behind.

What follows are the adventures of the four as they face numerous challenges including some pretty mean and dangerous foes.

Like all the previous Kung Fu Panda movies there’s plenty of colour, movement and spectacular chase and fight scenes thanks to the movie’s excellent animation. This animation together with the vocal work of Black, Cranston and Hong ensures there are also plenty of laughs.

As a result, Kung Fu Panda 4, like its predecessors, is a fun and visually impressive offering with enough to keep both youngsters and older audience members amused for its 95-minute running time.

Kung Fu Panda opens in cinemas around Australia on March 28.

*Photo credit: © 2023 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved.

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