‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ movie review: Jack Black, Awkwafina take you on a chuckle-filled ride

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A still from ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’

A still from ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’
| Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

I have always wondered what the plural of mongoose was. Is it mongooses or mongeese? Imagine my delight when our favourite Kung Fu dealing panda, Po (voiced flawlessly by Jack Black), has the same existential doubt. He takes it further by wondering about the plural for nemesis—“nemesises? nemesi?” Po has a boatful of nemeses (yes, that is the plural) to deal with in Kung Fu Panda 4. And the plural of mongoose is mongooses.

Kung Fu Panda 4 opens with Po fully into his role as the Dragon Warrior helping his dads — adoptive, Ping (James Hong), and biological, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston) —  in their new restaurant. Just as he is posing for selfies, his mentor, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), tells him he needs to choose the new Dragon Warrior as Po is ready to move on to the next step of his evolution by becoming the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace.

Not ready to move on, Po grabs on to a chance for one last adventure when he hears Tai Lung (Ian McShane) has razed a village to the ground. Po soon learns that it is not Tai Lung who has returned from the Spirit Realm to do mischief, but an evil sorceress, The Chameleon (Viola Davis), who has horrid world-destroying plans up her shape-shifting sleeve.

Kung Fu Panda 4 (English)

Director: Mike Mitchell

Voice cast: Jack Black, Awkwafina, Bryan Cranston, James Hong, Ian McShane, Ke Huy Quan, Dustin Hoffman, Viola Davis

Runtime: 94 minutes

Storyline: Po, now being elevated to Spiritual Leader, has to find the next Dragon Warrior, polish up his proverbs to become the voice of wisdom, and fight a shape-shifting sorceress…

Zhen (Awkwafina), a light-fingered fox Po caught stealing, offers to help him catch The Chameleon in her lair in Juniper City. After a rousing encounter at a tavern, with the vicious Granny Boar (Lori Tan Chinn), Po and Zhen hire Captain Fish (Ronny Chieng) to take them to Juniper City. After many chases and climatic battles involving the greatest Kung Fu fighters from the Spirit Realm, with help from bloodthirsty bunnies, and other denizens from the Den of Thieves including the leader, Han (Ke Huy Quan), and Po’s dads, all comes right in the end.

The one-liners zing by in clouds of fun and Black as usual gives 110 per cent to his dumpling-loving Po. The animation is eye-popping, as are the hectic chase through Juniper City and pyrotechnic fights. After all the serious Academy Award-winning films of the season, if we cannot watch Nicolas Cage riding a motorcycle with his skull aflame, Po meditating on inner peace which morphs into dinner with peas is a tasty option.

Kung Fu Panda 4 is currently running in theatres

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