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'Kung Fu Panda' movie review: Packs a punch but misses the target

The story lacks the punch and pizzazz. While Jack Black as Po has done everything to carry the franchise, the lack of strong characters around him is a letdown.
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 00:39 IST
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 00:39 IST

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Kung Fu Panda 4
2024
2.5/5
Director:Mike Mitchell
Cast:Jack Black, Awkwafina, Viola Davis, Bryan Cranston

The dialogue from the first instalment, “There is no secret ingredient”, became iconic. Yet one can’t help but wonder if there really was a secret ingredient for the success the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ film series has enjoyed over the years. 

‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ might have done well at the box office, but it seems ‘bland’ compared to its previous instalments. The story lacks the punch and pizzazz. While Jack Black as Po has done everything to carry the franchise, the lack of strong characters around him is a letdown. As a fan of the series, one would be forgiven if they’d hoped for this instalment to capture the quirky essence of the previous films. However, it fails to evoke nostalgia though directors have tried to recreate old scenes and have used some old characters.

It is possible that new characters were introduced to keep the franchise alive. There have been talks of future instalments, in which case there is a need to bridge the gap between the old and new. This bridge, however, seems to have been put together in a hurry, and would need reinforcements if it were to hold the weight of expectations.

The story does make you smile and has some lessons, making it a good one-time watch. The new characters display potential, but do not stand out. While the dialogues could have been crisper, the animation is spot on. In the end, ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ is that noodle soup that tastes good for first timers, but true fans would know that the dish, while decent, is missing the secret ingredient.

(The author has worked in the animation industry)

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Published 27 April 2024, 00:39 IST

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