The Dragon Warrior encounters his long lost family while searching for himself in “Kung Fu Panda 3.”
In the third film of the series, Po (voiced by Jack Black), the adorably plump panda, must become a Kung Fu master. Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) announces his last day of teaching and leaves it in Po’s hands…which doesn’t go so well.
Later, after hearing that a newcomer is claiming his dumpling-eating record at his dad’s noodle shop, Po rushes in to meet a stranger who looks just like him. The panda (Bryan Cranston) says his name is Li and is looking for his son. Po says he is looking for his biological dad and after a brief moment, they realize they found each other.
Meanwhile, a wildebeest named Kai (J. K. Simmons) returns to the real world after drifting in the Spirit Realm for 500 years. He wants to take the inner power, known as chi, from every Kung Fu warrior and master, including Po, to become the greatest fighter in all of China.
Po must learn to unlock his chi powers in order to defeat Kai. Li claims that he knows how to summon chi (since pandas are said to be masters at it) and says he’ll teach Po if he follows him to his secret village, where the rest of the pandas roam. A jealous Mr. Ping (James Hong) follows.
The Furious Five (Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross) are back along with new faces in the panda village.
There were some weak spots. There was not as much action as in the previous films and the theme of finding one’s identity echoes the previous films; it’s repetitive. And would it have been too much to ask for Po to have a love interest this time?
“Kung Fu Panda 3” is good, but it could’ve been better. It’s a film that you can wait to watch on DVD or the FX channel. However, if you are taking the whole family out to the movies, “Kung Fu Panda 3” is the best choice. There are many funny scenes throughout the film that will have children and adults busting guts.
Studio: DreamWorks (1 hr. 35 min)
Cast: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson, Bryan Cranston, James Hong, J.K. Simmons
Directors: Alessandro Carloni & Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Story: Po must discover who he is to become a true master of Kung Fu
Final Score: C-