Kung Fu Panda

Critics Consensus

Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 183

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 585,039
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Movie Info

A clumsy panda bear becomes an unlikely kung fu hero when a treacherous enemy spreads chaos throughout the countryside in this animated martial arts adventure featuring the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, and Jackie Chan. On the surface, Po (voice of Black) may look like just another portly panda bear, but beneath his fur he bears the mark of the chosen one. By day, Po works faithfully in his family's noodle shop, but by night he dreams of becoming a true master of the martial arts. Now an ancient prophecy has come to pass, and Po realizes that he is the only one who can save his people from certain destruction. With time running short and malevolent snow leopard Tai Lung (Ian McShane ) closing in, Furious Five legends Tigress (Jolie), Crane (David Cross ), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Chan), and their wise sensei, Master Shifu (Hoffman), all draw on their vast knowledge of fighting skills in order to transform a lumbering panda bear into a lethal fighting machine. Now, if the noble Po can master the martial arts and somehow transform his greatest weaknesses into his greatest strengths, he will fulfill his destiny as the hero who saved his people during their darkest hour. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Cast

Ian McShane
as Tai Lung
Lucy Liu
as Viper
Seth Rogen
as Mantis
James Hong
as Mr. Ping
Michael Clarke Duncan
as Commander Vachir
Wayne Knight
as Gang Boss
Kyle Gass
as KG Shaw
JR Reed
as JR Shaw
Tanya Haden
as Smitten Bunny
Stephen Kearin
as Gong Pig/Grateful Bunny
Mark Osborne
as Pig Patron
John Stephenson
as Rhino Guard
Jeremy Shipp
as Blind Gator
Melissa Cobb
as Bunny Mom
Kent Osborne
as Pig Fan
Emily Robison
as Bunny Fan No.1
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Critic Reviews for Kung Fu Panda

All Critics (183) | Top Critics (44)

Audience Reviews for Kung Fu Panda

  • Mar 26, 2013
    Funny and quite stylish, but entirely insubstantial, which is ok.
    Louis R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2013
    The dialogue provided by the charismatic Jack Black brings magic in this simplistic DreamWorks picture. Kung Fu Panda's blend of action, comedy and animation makes the film a worthwhile treat for all audiences. 5/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2012
    Vocally, most of the performers fit their roles like gloves, but really, when you look at who they usually play, you never would have guessed most of the people behind these voices, and I only bring that up because, while most of these voice actors are so far out of their comfort zone it's ridiculous, Jack Black is playing Jack Black. No, I don't simply mean that he's playing the character that he always does, I mean that we're looking at a cartoon panda version of Mr. Thomas Jacob Black, because when he's not doing or at least faking some pretty cool stuff, he's a soft-spoken, but still kind of annoying nerd. Seriously, I was just waiting for that big climactic sequence in which Po just busts out a sitar from out of nowhere and vanquishes Ian McShane's Tai Lung character with the Ancient Chinsese Rock. Ol' Jackie boy was right, the metal will strike you down with a vicious blow. That was just a little inside joke for all of the Tenacious D fans out there, even though someone into something that crazy isn't likely to even be interested in a review about animated family film about a panda bear becoming a kung fu master, but hey, to those people, I say that you should at least drop your prejudice againsts family films for, well, a Pixar film. However, next to that, this drop the prejudice for this Dreamworks family film, because although it does get kind of cheesy, if you think that Jack Black is inexplicably as awesome as he fancies himself in real life, then watching this film really will cause your brain to explode out of the top of your head like that one guy at the climax of Tenacious D's performance of "Master Exploder" in "The Pick of Destiny". Slightly obscure Tenacious D references aside, this film is actually pretty darn cool, yet that's not quite enough for you to completely forget about its flaws. Now, I'm not asking for this film to go all-out martial arts film homage and gratuitously run two-and-a-half to three hours, but really, when's the last time a sweeping character study that just barely runs a mere hour-and-a-half worked? Well, I couldn't tell you, but now that I think about it, it couldn't be for a lack of trying, because this film is still rather tight enough to show that a brief martial arts character piece epic could work. Of course, maybe not one this brief, because although the brief runtime isn't terribly damaging to the film, there are points where things feel a bit tacked-on or thrown-together, from some points of exposition to that moderate cop-out of an ending. Still, as much as the editor needed a coffee break, I don't know if we need too much more of more of the same, because as good of a story this is, it's been done to death, not that any kids would know, because I doubt that there are a lot of little youngsters out there that are hardcore fans of the classic bone-crushing, head-smashing martial arts epics that mommy and daddy probably haven't even heard of. It's a family film, so I'm not asking for the most unconventional storyline since... I don't know, because I'm not a big trekker for kung fu films, but what I can tell you is that this story and its morals are pretty familiar ones, both within the kung fu genre and family film genre. However, just because this is nothing that strays too far away from its roots, that doesn't mean that the film isn't about as enjoyable as the other films that it's taking from. In this day and age, story originality doesn't seem to be a big part on the criteria for satisfying family films, but what expectations that do fall upon the shoulders of this film only fail at going unsatisfied. It is a Dreamworks family film, and, as I said, a rather conventional one at that, so go in expecting some cheesy gags from slapstick or Jack Black's Po character just being a big annoying dork, but more than that, expect the humor to, more often than not, really hit with charm and sharp delivery, and also expect that humor to be complimented by some colorful voice work, something to be expected when you've a cast of charmers this massive. The voice performers themself, and by extension, the film, finds itself complimented by some truly dazzling animation, with most everything having a slick complexity to it, as well as a lot of flash and color in the animation to really liven up this world, as well as the humor. Still, when the animation isn't making this film extra charming, it's just plain blowing you away by opening many doors of limitations set by the live-action world and delivering on all that it salvages from the other side, resulting in some pretty amazing action sequences. There is an action sequence between a kung fu-fightin' crane, snake, monkey and tiger against another kung fu-fightin' tiger on top of a shaky, cut rope bridge that's only means of support is a Seth Rogen-voiced praying mantis (Yeah, I'm sold enough on that alone), who eventually joins the fight by using that very bridge as a weapon while everyone else is bouncing around, fighting mostly while airborne, and that one action sequence alone - not joke - almost made me cry, it was so amazing, which isn't to say that it's the only one of these many action sequences that will blow your mind. If that's not enough, you get extra thrills, courtesy of a predictably awesome score by Hans Zimmer... and this John Powell guy. I know that Powell's a pretty successful guy in the score composing business, but when you're working with "the" Hans Zimmer, you may as well be calling this your big break after years of plucking an acoustic guitar along a New York sidewalk. As I said, the film may be a bit too tight, yet no matter how limited its seconds may be, each one is pumped with some thorough enjoyability. Overall, it falls into too many conventions as both a family flick and kung fu tale, only with too much tightness at points, leaving exposition and depth to find itself a touch diluted, but what keeps this film far from forgettable is its very colorful humor and animation - which is complimented by equally colorful voice work -, as well as some booming, wildly thrilling action sequences, ultimately leaving "Kung Fu Panda" a thoroughly entertaining thrill ride that the whole family can enjoy. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2011
    From DreamWorks comes the fun and action packed animated film Kung Fu Panda. When a Kung Fu master has a vision of the notorious criminal Tai Lung breaking free from prison, he selects a Panda named Po to be the Dragon Warrior that will protect the valley from evil. The cast features the voice talents of Jake Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, and Ian McShane. While the animation is very good, the story is a bit weak and the setup is rather odd. Still, overall Kung Fu Panda is an entertaining family film with a positive message about faith and courage.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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