Kung Fu Panda 2 is a sequel that works!

This film has an amazing cast of voices, from Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman and Jackie Chan, to everyone’s favorite movie fool Seth Rogen.

I hadn’t seen “Kung-Fu Panda” until the day before I watched part 2, so I haven’t seen enough to really compare the two and I probably missed some inside jokes. Of course, part 2 was made for 3-D and unlike “Rio,” it was a bit over-loaded with blatant 3-D tricks. That was the only thing I didn’t enjoy. Mainly because us Kaua‘i people don’t have 3-D (why should we?) it doesn’t serve the movie and it only exists so theatres can charge an extra $4 to $8 per ticket.

The plot is Po (Jack Black) joins forces with a group of new kung-fu masters to take on an old enemy with a deadly new weapon.

Dustin Hoffman is great as the voice of “Shifu.” It’s interesting to hear such a great actor, that is the master of using his body to portray a character or emotion (if you missed it rent “Little Fockers,” Hoffman’s last film).

Of course all you guys will feel cheated to only hear Angelina Jolie, but she voices a feisty tiger. I’m not the biggest fan of animation films, but I do leave my bias at the door.

I liked “Shrek” and “Toy story,” like everyone did. This film does have some great qualities. Aside from the animation, I’m still amazed how far technology is taking movies — the film does a nice job of paying homage to regular films. You see wonderful references to “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” “Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars” and even a tiny reference to “Titanic.”

The movie is a wonderful blend of humor and animated action. It is an interesting combo to hear Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman play scenes together.

The filmmakers really knew their Hong Kong action movies, because the design of the film was dead-on the old ‘70s movies. It did seem like a modern day, animated Bruce Lee movie in certain ways. One of the smaller parts was even voiced by ‘80s cheese-ball action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. I didn’t know he was still alive — all due respect to you “Bloodsport” fans. Jack Black even as a voice steals the show and it’s not because he’s the main character.

I like that this movie is accessible to all. I took my dad and he knew nothing about the series and loved it. The crowd was filled with people of all ages and the humor was not “adult” humor. It was no doubt a kids movie, but even adults can enjoy it.

I was pleasantly surprised as I was a few weeks back with “Rio.” After “Fast Five” I needed something good. It seems right now movies are really hit or miss. You get a fantastic flick like “Something Borrowed” playing next door to a dud like “Fast Five”. I know this goes without saying that a movie is good or bad. Lately, movies have been the extreme (good or bad). They’re really good or have no reason to be in theatres. I don’t know, as I’ve said before; movies are incredibly hard to make so I shouldn’t criticize. I make movies and this section can be challenging, because I don’t enjoy critics who bash movies.

Luckily on the sequel side of things this didn’t mess-up the series (and there will be part 3). In an era where we have Harry Potter part 9 and he’s a 26 year old high schooler; sequels became a danger for me as a viewer. This film for all you movie buffs managed to do something only a few films have done (but it is not as good as the films I’m about to mention). This one was better then “Kung-Fu Panda”, this is something only “Lethal Weapon”, “Back to the Future” and “The Godfather” movies have managed to do. I would have to re-watch the first one, but from first viewings, I say part 2 is better.

So if you liked the 1st one, go see part 2. If you want to have fun and see a unique movie; “Kung-Fu Panda 2” is worth it. My friend works in animation and FX for some Hollywood Blockbusters and let me say there is hundreds of people that literally work on a scene or a shot. It’s a true art-form, this type of animation. You animation fans are in for a treat. I loved this movie; it scores 90 percent (loses points for unnecessary 3-D tricks) on my seal of approval chart.

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