Spare Me the Chit Chat: ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Review

Posted in The Screening Room by - June 26, 2016

So I have to open by saying that the background music for the intro fight scene of Kung Fu Panda 3 is a kung fu version of Imagine Dragon’s “I’m So Sorry.” I can’t decide if it makes the scene better or worse because on the one hand I almost missed it and the beat is rocking. On the other it makes me wonder if I missed a bunch of other kung fu versions of pop songs in the other two films that I don’t want to go back and rewatch.

For the final week of June-Jitsu, I watched Kung Fu Panda 3. Released just this year, it’s the third film in the Kung Fu Panda series a movie franchise that regularly plays with the tropes of eastern action films to make children’s animated features. I haven’t hated the previous two, so I was moderately optimistic about the third movie. It was released just this year

By now Po, voiced by Jack Black, has developed into a bad ass kung fu fighter, having proven himself as the chosen one and come to terms with his tragic past as an orphan. Of course, he still struggles with self-doubt because his master retires and tells him to start teaching without any prep at all. However, Po’s father has returned, not being dead, and leads Po to his home village, also not dead. At the same time Kai, portrayed by the ever awesome J.K. Simmons, has returned from the afterlife to kick the ever loving crap out of every living kung fu master. The best part about Kai is that he seems to have a reason for doing dastardly deeds that make sense to a rational person. Villains are always best when they’re understandable. You don’t have to agree with them, but getting where they’re coming from makes them SO much more attractive. Po realizes that he has to train his village in the martial arts techniques inherent in their daily lives to save his friends and family. I’ve also realized that “I’m So Sorry” was the theme music for J.K. Simmons’ Kai, which grew on me more and more as it kept recurring each time Kai showed up to do something intimidating.

Perhaps it’s a sort of inherent optimism that I associate with animated films. Perhaps it’s the unperturbed enthusiasm of the franchise’s main character. Perhaps it’s the feeling that the cast and crew of the Kung Fu Panda movies have legitimately enjoyed themselves. For whatever reason, as I watched Kung Fu Panda 3. I found myself incapable of stifling the stupid grin that kept popping up on my face. Taking the tropes of kung fu cinema, combining it with an almost recklessly optimistic character, and a relentlessly impressive cast, Kung Fu Panda 3 has certainly worked it’s way to being my favorite movie of the month.

Final Say: Watch It

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Born in Arizona, he currently resides in Denton, Texas. When he isn’t watching movies he’s playing board games and drinking whatever he can get his hands on. John watches Djimon Honsou movies because he likes Spawn, which had Michael Jai White.

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