“Kung Fu Panda 2” breaks new ground in the history of cinema. Everyone knows you can’t use 3-D in the second movie in a series. You have to wait until the third one. Then again the second movie strategy makes sense. All the better to hold up helpless parents at the box office, I suppose.
Breaking the 3- D sequel custom appears to be “Panda”’s lone innovation. Otherwise this is one of the laziest sequels that you can imagine. Take a lovably clumsy warrior panda, add some daddy issues with a long-necked father goose, and mount the latest chapter of the epic eternal struggle between panda and peacock. Arm the peacock with a cannon that shoots Happy Fun Ball to devastating results. Add sweet and sour sauce. Steer the story by that very famous Chinese proverb, “Give them more of the same.”
What worked for the first film was its touch at spoofing kung fu and action films. In between the animated action were light moments that sent up the silliness of the genres that inspired it. In this sequel, such moments are so far between, in this more straightforward action cartoon with less comedy, or at least with less comedy that works. Perhaps the only thing that does work is a fun sequence in which Po the panda and his kung fu friends disguise themselves as in a bug costume from a Chinese parade. To overcome their enemies, they ‘swallow’ them at the mouth and pass them out the other end.
My favorite part of the film? The part where the film stopped, the lights came on, and we found out we were in the middle of a tornado warning. Now that was an innovation. Unfortunately for you, I don’t think your screening will have that part. But if you are stuck in there, you might pray for some nasty weather.
NOW OUT ON DVD