“Kung Fu Panda 4” Kung Fu Flops!?

On Thursday, March 7th Kung Fu Panda 4 was released in theaters. The first three movies were great but this movie could have been more impressive. Kung Fu Panda 4 was written by someone different  Darren Lemke who did not write the first two, which were written by  Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. If you have not seen the movie there will be spoilers in this piece. 

In the movie a new character is introduced, Zhen, who is a Fox. The movie’s story is that Po is the protagonist in the film. Zhen is a thief who tries to rob the Jade Palace and is stopped by Po. Even when Zhen is stopped and locked up she convinces Po to release her from jail to stop the Villain the Chameleon because somehow she is the only person who knows who this person is and where they are located. So even with Po knowing that Zhen is not a good person they decided to go on this long journey towards Crystal City. About an hour into the movie, we get our first fight scene. It is between Zhen and Po fighting a whole tavern over money that Zhen stole. 

The fight scene was not up to par with some of the scenes in the past three movies. Next even with Po risking his life for Zhen because she stole money from the people at the tavern they continue on their journey. They finally make it to the city and still nothing of importance has happened. While in the city we find that Zhen is also a wanted criminal in the city which makes Po a wanted criminal as well. Then for the next 10 minutes, we watch Po and Zhen run from the police causing havoc all over the city. In the city with Zhen Po finds out who Zhen grew up with and how she turned to the life of a villain but it doesn’t add much to the story. With these parts, it seems as if they needed to fill time in the movie so they added them in.

Finally, we meet the villain in her true form but the first meeting is concise. Po is trapped almost immediately then we find out what truly Zhen’s mission is, and though it was good that they had someone who made a double cross. We do see some great animation while the chameleon is carrying out her master plan as we have seen in the previous movies. I did enjoy the bringing back of all the old villains in the movie especially Tai Lung who brought some comedic relief as well as he brought some good fighting scenes. 

We believe that the movie is over and Po is defeated, and trapped, he loses his staff, and the Chameleon only grows with power. We again see Zhen have another change of heart and she frees Po from his cage. It was pretty cliche to see Zhen end up going to the good side but it was good to see that the movie would not end without a fight.  With Po free but having no army as an audience we think that it is over even if Po tries to do it himself but then we see Pos’ fathers make the journey behind Po and they say they will help Po as well as a group of villains that Zhen grew up with. Even with such a powerful villain, we see pretty dull fights. Po finally defeats the Chameleon with another subpar fight scene. 

We end the movie with Zhen becoming the next dragon warrior. Overall the movie did not live up to my expectations with almost none of the Furious Five appearing in the movie and it seems like they tried to change the whole storyline from the first three. I would not recommend you to watch it in theaters with not as much comedic relief as the others and the epic fight scenes that we have previously seen were nowhere to be found. The animation was just as good and Jack Black is still a great voice actor but the storyline and execution didn’t live up to the three previous movies.