Kung Fu Panda 3 movie poster
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Kung Fu Panda 3
Kung Fu Panda 3 movie poster

Kung Fu Panda 3 Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Kung Fu Panda 3 is a family-friendly film that largely maintains the quality of the previous two installments while also confirming that the filmmakers are running dry on ideas. Jack Black returns as Po the loveable/badass panda, who once again must go on a mission of self-discovery to a) save his friends; and b) do the exact same thing he’s had to do in the last two movies.

As much as I liked the first two Kung Fu Panda movies, I don’t remember a lot of what happens in them—but I do remember Po having to “look inside himself” a lot to find the warrior within. Kung Fu Panda 3 is much of the same, and it’s beginning to get old.

Nonetheless, with returning co-director Jennifer Yuh at the helm, the movie looks great and continues to treat its story and the animation tools at its disposal as means to create on-screen art. With vivid imagery, imaginative sets, and clever action sequences, Kung Fu Panda 3 will hold your attention—and certainly your children’s.

The movie doesn’t boast as much action as you’d expect, but Yuh and co-director Alessandro Carloni offer plenty of entertainment, especially for little ones. While Black’s shtick as the lovable, slightly simple panda is a bit tired and somewhat annoying this turn around, I imagine little kids will continue to eat his routine up—and the film introduces plenty of funny/adorable new characters, including an entire community of dopey pandas (and who doesn’t like pandas?) to do what pandas do—which is primarily roll down hills. The villain, voiced by J.K. Simmons, is pretty decent, too, even if he lacks many noteworthy qualities.

And that’s the problem with Kung Fu Panda 3 overall: as entertaining as it is at times, its lack of originality or other noteworthy qualities keeps it from being anything more than a sequel to those other, better panda movies.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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