Po and the gang jump brought all the fun of kung fu fighting back to theaters January 29.
“Kung Fu Panda 3” has proven to be another great addition to this lovable franchise. While it doesn’t hit the heights of the stellar second movie, it does feature the return of characters fans know and love, as well as the introduction of new side characters that they will always remember.
Po, the titular panda, finally meets his long-lost biological father Li, voiced by Bryan Cranston, which creates tension with his adoptive father, Mr. Ping, voiced by the inimitable James Hong. Soon, Po and his friends, the Furious Five, are brought together to stop the main villain, spirit warrior Kai, voiced by J.K. Simmons, who emerges from the Spirit World after stealing the chi from Po’s deceased Master Oogway.
While the film does not surpass the standards of comedy or drama set by its predecessors, it is a major step forward in the visual department. Halfway through the film, Po realizes he needs to teach the other pandas Kung Fu, before Kai arrives at their village. These training scenes with Po prove to be a master class in animation technique. They combine 2-D and 3-D styles to create an incredible sequence of visuals.
The voice acting in “Kung Fu Panda 3” is great from start to finish. Simmons shines as the villain Kai and is equal parts funny and intimidating. Jack Black does a predictably strong job delivering Po’s funnier material, but Hong and Cranston steal the show. The way their characters portray their love for Po balances gut-busting humor with believable affection. Overall, “Kung Fu Panda 3” proves to be a fun animated spectacle for both kids and adults.