Kung Fu 4

Kung Fu 4

Kung Fu 4

Kung Fu Panda 4
Stars: (voices of) Jack Black, Awkwafina, Viola Davis, Dustin Hoffman, James Hong, Bryan Cranston, Ian McShane, Ke Huy Quan, Lori tan Chinn, Ronny Chieng and Harry Shum, Jr.   
Director: Mike Mitchell
Scriptwriters: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Darren Lemka  
Composer: Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro 
Cinematography: Joshua Gunther 
DreamWorks Animation/Universal Pictures
Rating: PG with action scenes 
Running Length: 95 Minutes

When the first “Kung Fu Panda” film came out, attention wasn’t always on the Panda (voiced by Jack Black) but on the serpent who could do karate as well as anyone. The agility of animals has continued through the next three films, including this year’s “Kung Fu Panda 4.” Will there be more, you ask? Of course, just wait a bit. In the meantime, visit a zoo and see a panda up close to see the attraction they have.

In this story, Po (Jack Black) and his father, Li Shan (Bryan Cranson) decide to open their own restaurant. However, there is a visit from Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) who tells Po he must leave to help find someone to take the old Master’s place.  What to do? Po know duty, so he goes and along the way meets a fox thief (Awkwafina) who goes from good person to spy in the blink of an eye. The villain, Tai Lung (snow leopard and voiced by Ian McShane) is back and now works with the Chameleon, a sorceress (voiced by Viola Davis). There is also the Den of Thieves to contend with. Po has his work cut out for him. Along the way are battles, and the changing of sides.  The aim is the Spirit Realm.

Storyline is for families and though there is comic violence, the aim is to bring peace and teach lessons of humility and working together.  Manners are important and so is thinking something through. Be prepared and be polite and listen closely to what your elders have to say.

Animation is quite good, especially in the fight scenes. With Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazarro doing music, this carries the story line along nicely. As far as acting, the voices blend with their characters well.  Jack Black, in his fourth turn as Po, as it just right and could do this with the snap of a finger (or paw?), New to the scenes are Viola Davis as The Chameleon and she can change her speech pattern well.  The same goes for Awkwafina, (the Fox) who can alter her voice, accordingly, too. For the men, Bryan Cranston (snow leopard) is the villain, and you could close your eyes and just listen and know he is present. Doing voices for animated characters is an art that is mastered well here.

Families can find things to discuss in this film. Each person may find something of interest to them. Especially in the characters such as Po, his father and Master Shifu, Po’s teacher and is the red panda. Topics could be: not listening on purpose, being quiet is a virtue, kindness is always there for family, friends, elder people, and the animal world, also. Po was always learning something, even though he is now an adult.

Copyright 2024 Marie Asner