(director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson; screenwriters: Jonathan Aibel/Glenn Berger; cinematographer: ; editor: Clare Knight; music: Hans Zimmer/John Powell; cast: Jack Black (Po), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Dustin Hoffman (Mater Shifu), Jackie Chan (Monkey), Seth Rogen (Mantis), Lucy Liu (Viper), David Cross (Crane), James Hong (Mr. Ping), Gary Oldman (Lord Shen), Michelle Yeoh (Soothsayer), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Master Croc), Victor Garber (Master Thundering Rhino), Dennis Haysbert (Master Storming Ox), Danny McBride (Wolf Boss); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Melissa Cobb; Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks; 2011)

Too bad it’s so forgettable.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Entertaining and solid child-friendly animation sequel to the box office smash 2008 version, that’s handled adequately with an eye for the action/fight sequences by first-time director Jennifer Yuh Nelson. Too bad it’s so forgettable and unoriginal. Writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger flirt with a theme of inner peace, but that quickly gives way to fighting a war as a way to overcome the enemy. In theaters it released in 3D. I saw the DVD without that extra feature, and don’t think I missed much.

The older, wiser and still playful DragonWarrior panda Po (voiced by Jack Black), from the original version, along with his partners the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross) – are protecting the Valley of Peace. But a formidable peacock villain named Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) emerges to threaten China, as he schemes to use his unstoppable new weapon of fireworks to conquer the country and put and end to kung fu. Adding to the storyline is Po’s earnest search for his real father.

The action picks up when Lord Shen invades Gongmen City and with his army of wolves easily captures it. Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) fearing the worse, calls upon his kung-fu pupil Po and the Furious Five to stop the villain. In the opening sequence, we learn that the seers have foretold that Po is destined to defeat Lord Shen, so we must watch to the end to confirm if this is so. When our orphan hero finds out the truth about what happened to his parents and what role Lord Shen played in their death, he then will get serious in battling the villain and if you are not sure who will win you’re probably younger and more green than the targeted adolescent viewer.